IRCTC comes up with attractive holiday packages

With hike in road and air transport fares, hotel stay will force tourists this summer to shell more money for holidays. However, some affordable tourist packages by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) are likely to provide relief for holidayers.

IRCTC has announced several special trains with affordable packages that include travel fare, accommodation, meals and intercity bus travel. These tourist packages, available from Pune, include Chaar-Dhaam Yatra, north India tour, south India tour, Tirupati Yatra and Kullu Manali-Jammu Kashmir package among others.

"IRCTC provides confirmed reservations for all these packages. We are offering a weekly Tirupati package tour for Rs 5,599 that will include AC III travel, shared AC accommodation, sightseeing and food," said Aloksingh Parmar, IRCTC, Pune.

The South India package costs Rs 12,499 for sleeper class and Rs 18,399 for AC III-tier. The train will cover all important tourist destinations including Goa, Tirupati, Rameshwaram, Madurai, Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram. The North India package would cost Rs 11,499 for sleeper. IRCTC will provide accommodation in budget hotels or dormitories along with food.

According to Harsha Shah, president, Railway Pravasi Sangh, the tourist package is a great alternative for middle class families as holidaying by other modes has become very expensive.

"The IRCTC packages are affordable and if compared with other modes result in 50-75 per cent saving. Apart from tourist packages, Puneites can also opt for other regular trains available for all major tourist destinations in the country," Shah said.

A person wishing to visit Konkan can opt for the biweekly Pune-Ernakulam Express. Pune-Jammutavi Express (Daily) will take a tourist to Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Kulu, Manali, Simla and parts of J&K.

"Those travelling by AC-I AC-II will have to pay 10-15 per cent for long distance travel this year due to fare hike, but that is still affordable compared to other modes. Besides, if the group is big enough, IRCTC can provide inclusive package apart from the package tourist trains," Shah said.

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