In a meeting with the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has shared its inputs with the government on giving impetus to rail tourism in India. Attending the meeting virtually on behalf of the association, Bettaiah Lokesh, Honorary Secretary General, TAAI and Anoop Kanuga, Chairman – Tourism Services Council, Managing Committee Member shared inputs on how rail tourism products can be better promoted in the country with the help and support of travel trade. This was the second meeting after first such meeting was attended by President, Jyoti Mayal earlier.
Second meeting on the same day was chaired by the Union Railways minister at the Rail Bhawan in New Delhi where all travel and tourism associations were invited. Among various suggestions, TAAI gave emphasis on travel agents and tour operators working very closely with government to promote rail products and how they should be mandatorily commissionable to them. “This is a potentially fantastic rail-tourism product. This should certainly create an initial impetus for private capital to participate in public services to create incredible stories around Indian Tourism,” the association mentioned.
- A detailed costs structure of train operations to enable a pro- forma P&L, cash flow & NPV analysis.
- If the fixed costs instead of being paid quarterly can have a mortgage period and be paid two years into the concession.
- If the lease can be given an NOC to be provided as a collateral to take bank funding against the concession.
- The possibility of passing on depreciation benefits of coach retrofitting to the concessionaire to enable a more financially attractive model.
- If there would be service level agreements on train timings and maintenance uptime between railways and the concessionaire and whether those can made linked to reduced fixed costs in case of their non-compliance.
- Since for Railways it is a new marginal product without incremental capital costs, can a much lower fixed cost and marginal cost structure be explored for this concession to enable promoting the product
- The guidance of making this product mandatorily commissionable to travel agents & tour operators in India.
- Possibility of creating a sub- brand -Incredible Indian Tourism Trains to provide overall branding support to the concessionaires.