The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will commence a unique tourist facilitation centre on Wednesday that will act as a ‘single window shop’ for all tourism products.
To be located in Connaught Place, the swanky shopping plaza in the heart of the metropolis, the centre will offer a string of rail, land and air tour packages for domestic and international travelers, taking care of their itinerary – from air ticket to visa facilitation and insurance, from special train packages to customized tours, from food to accommodation, from cab and concierge services to sightseeing.
“This will be the first of its kind initiative anywhere in the country where the entire travel needs are taken care of under one roof. This is also the only brick and mortar office of the IRCTC where people can walk in to buy a train or air travel package and even get a customized trip as per their convenience,” said Dr. A K Manocha, CMD, IRCTC.
“The tourist facilitation centre, to be launched shortly, will be unique as it would facilitate a direct public interface,” he added.
The IRCTC, a 16-year-old ‘mini Ratna’ PSU of Indian Railways, had introduced e-ticketing in 2002 through its digital platform. The average daily sale of train tickets through the portal, which is the world’s second busiest with three crore registered users, is around 5.5 to 6 lakh.
The facilitation centre will handle all special train packages of IRCTC such as Bharat Darshan, pilgrim trains (Tirupati, Shirdi, and Buddhist circuit), the north-east, Kerala and Goa. In addition, there are air packages for Jammu and Kashmir, Shirdi and Tirupati.
“When we announced recently Jammu and Kashmir and Shirdi air travel packages from Delhi, these were completely sold out. Likewise, the Tirupati package got a booking of 80 per cent almost immediately,” informed Mr. Pradeep Dhiman, Addl GM, IRCTC.
Explaining, the official said these packages are popular as the entire needs and concerns of tourists are taken care of by IRCTC. “For example, the Tirupati package from Delhi comprises air ticket, AC coach from Chennai to Tirupati, 4 star hotel accommodation, food and VIP darshan,” he pointed out.
Besides these fixed trips, the Facilitation Centre will also customize tours and make tailor-made packages. However, these can be slightly more expensive as the air tickets for such a request are booked at the current rate.
The IRCTC also provides outbound packages. “We have already announced tour packages from Chennai for Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Plans are underway to provide similar packages from Delhi,” he said.
“IRCTC being a government organization provides domestic and international packages in a very convenient and economical manner,” he said, adding: “The centre handles the entire air ticketing operation of IRCTC.”
The facilitation centre will cater to the travel requirements of ministries, government departments and PSUs, besides clients in the corporate sector. It will also facilitate air tickets, accommodation and sightseeing for foreign delegates or students visiting India on exchange programmes.