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Rail tourism is the new concept and is gaining momentum in India. IRCTC, the subsidiary arm of Indian Railways in order to boost Rail Tourism in India, has launched an initiative to create a network of travel agents who will be the official agents of its website railtourismindia.com, which offers rail tourism packages. Initially, rail tourism packages were not received very well by the people. But with promotion of rail tourism, good deals and trust, these packages are being accepted by the people.
In order to become a partner agent of rail tourism, and to sell the rail tourism packages, one has to give a bank guarantee of Rs 25,000. The person applying to become a partner agent has to be a member of either IATO, ADTOI, TAAI or TAFI. Besides, the partner agent should also have an experience of about five years in the industry and recognition from the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) or the state department of tourism.
The rail tourism website of Indian railways offers more than 100 packages across the country and plans to reach target of more than 200 packages. The focus of the website on creating religious packages and in effect these packages are the most popular packages on the rail tourism website. These packages are mostly purchased by senior citizens or a gift by young people for their parents.
This initiative by IRCTC has helped create many new jobs and has opened up more avenues for travel agents to expand their business in face of the looming future of zero per cent commission regime. Indian Railways has gained lost ground considerably over the past couple of months on account increasing air fare.
Rail tourism website is focusing on creating packages for Religious Circuits, as Religious Tourism is a year round segment unlike leisure segment, which is highly seasonal in India. To make the website more user friendly, IRCTC is constantly getting user feedback and improving the website.