In a major shot in the arm for the Karnataka government, the Railway Board has finally agreed to its requests to run operations of the Golden Chariot on a revenue-sharing basis. The Golden Chariot is the only luxury train of south India.
The revenue sharing will be done in the ratio of 56:44 between the Indian Railways and Karnataka State Tourism. "If I am getting Rs 30 lakh, 56% will go to Railways, the balance will come to us. In that we will do all the hospitality, tour packages and everything," Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) managing director Kumar Pushkar told PTI.
With this, the state government hopes to operate the project, which had so far been running on losses, to its full potential by attracting both international and domestic tourists.
Priyank Kharge, Minister for IT-BT and Tourism, welcomed the Railway Board's nod stating that the revenue sharing policy will help them get more tourists by adopting a dynamic and more affordable tariff, which will lead to higher occupancy for the train.
The state government as well as the KSTDC also plan to market and publicise the Golden Chariot in the domestic as well as international sectors.
"We would target to achieve at least 50% occupancy in the coming 2 years besides increasing the number of tours from about 10 in a year to more than 20 trips in a year. We would also consider short-duration trips, mainly weekend tours, to encourage domestic tourists and give them the experience of a luxury train journey with well-curated tours to various destinations like Hampi, Badmi and Mysuru," a statement released by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) said.
The Golden Chariot is a joint venture of the Government of Karnataka, the Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Tourism. Since 2008, it was being run by the KSTDC with an objective of promoting inbound tourism in South India.
However, from the very start, the project was incurring losses due to the high haulage charges levied by the Indian Railways. The tariff was also kept very high due to the high operational cost and the occupancy over last 10 years has been only 30-35% only, the KSTDC statement said.