The IRCTC will start tour packages to Thailand from February 21 as the country is one of the most sought-after foreign destinations among people of the state. “The bookings are now open for the ‘Thrilling Thailand’ trip,” said Supervisor (Tourism), Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited, Sanghamitra Roul.
“People queried about the Thailand trip while booking our tour packages meant for different parts of the country. Also, many of our customers suggested to have the tour from Bhubaneswar for their convenience,” she added. IRCTC has been operating this tour from Kolkata since long. IRCTC is a PSU under the Ministry of Railways, set up to promote tourism and catering.
The 4 nights/5days trip costing from Rs 34,780 onwards includes air travel from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata and Kolkata to Bangkok, three-star hotel accommodation in the foreign land, food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and sightseeing. “We provide the lunch and dinner at Indian restaurants. Tourists don’t have to pay for visiting different places of interest. So our package has no hidden costs, which is our USP,” said Roul.
People who opt for in-counter booking get an Rs 1,000 discount, but all tourists have to pay Rs 2,400 on arrival for Visa formalities. Currently, there are 30 seats in this tour and the IRCTC would be sending a local escort with the travelers. There would also be a local tourist guide in Thailand. The package includes Bangkok, Pattaya and Coral Island.
Though this is IRCTC’s first foreign package from Bhubaneswar, the corporation has been operating packages to foreign destinations, particularly Dubai, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, for over two years now, from other parts of the country. For this, they have tied-up with tour operators in these countries. “Though right now we have just started services for Thailand, we will soon customize the tour packages, either for individuals or groups, to other foreign destinations from here,” said manager (tourism) IRCTC, Bhubaneswar, Kranti T Sawarkar.
Coming to its local operations, IRCTC also launched a 5nights/6days tour package to the Andamans during the winter. This includes a day in Havelock Island.
“Most people availing LTC prefer to go to the Andamans. Also there is a direct flight between Bhubaneswar and Port Blair five times a week. People’s preference and good connectivity with Port Blair prompted us to design this package,” said Roul.
A traveller has to pay Rs 12,145 exclusive of airfare to see Port Blair, Ross Island and Coral Island, but has to pay extra for snorkeling and boat rides. Besides basking on the sun-kissed beaches of Andamans, tourists will get a peak into history with the light and sound show at Cellular Jail, the IRCTC official said.
Owing to threats from natural disasters such as tsunami to the otherwise pristine island, the corporation takes care to know the weather before sending the tourists.
“We have a local contact and keep an eye on the weather of the region,” she added.