To promote rail tourism in the country, the railways has asked its zonal arms and public sector undertakings to outsource their ticketing and catering works to IRCTC and concentrate on branding.
The instruction came days after a parliamentary committee in its report blamed the national transporter for not doing enough to promote rail tourism.
In a letter on January 3, Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani has asked all zonal railways to promote the brand of rail tourism on select routes.
He has asked them to identify tourist and luxury trains and brand them both on the interior and exterior.
Lohani has also asked rail PSUs such as Indian Railway Finance Corporation and Ircon International, and zonal railways to give the catering contracts for all events, seminars and programmes held outside rail premises to IRCTC, the railways’ catering and tourism arm.
Senior zonal railway officials have been told that the responsibility of managing such events should also be entrusted with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
PSUs under the transport behemoth have also been asked to book air tickets for all its personnel from the IRCTC website, thus promoting the brand.
Soon after the parliamentary standing committee report was tabled, Lohani held a meeting with the travel and trade community where the issue of promotion of luxury trains was raised. In fact, the committee said that there was a lacuna in the branding of such trains.
Lohani has also addressed one of the major grouses of the travel community which said that the running schedules of such trains were not made clear. In order to cut down on delays, the board has now entrusted the Director, Coaching as the nodal officer for luxury trains.
The official can now be directly approached for approval on any scheduling issues, instead of the zonal railways.
Sources say that the board now wants to take on promoting rail tourism seriously and soon it will hold meeting with state tourism departments to take it forward.