The Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has set its sights on the lucrative Bollywood pie to expand its revenue potential.
Its officials met with state officials last week and discussed the possibility of having Bollywood stars travelling in their luxury rains such as Maharaja Express.
Currently, the Mumbai tourism package offered by the IRCTC is limited, with tourists having the option of booking a helicopter ride for a birds-eye view of important landmarks in the city.
However, railway officials have noted that many foreign tourists are avid Bollywood fans and would lap up the chance, if given, to travel in the same train as the film stars. “We first need to determine if the actors themselves are amenable to the prospect of a luxury train travel for major events that happen across the country such as an awards event. The stars could travel in style, though it would mean spending more time in travelling when compared to flights,” said an official on condition of anonymity.
IRCTC has already proposed its plan to the state early this month. Another meeting between the railway and state officials is expected in the first week of July.
The IRCTC has forayed into budget tourism, like the `35,000 economic budget for the Deccan Odyssey, connecting Mumbai and Delhi.
Officials at the meeting said Union minister Suresh Prabhu has also shown an interest in the project. “He knows we cannot earn enough from just passenger fares which are extremely subsidised. So projects like these are being looked at as alternative sources of revenue,” the official added.
Railway officials will take help of event management companies to rope in the stars. Holding such functions in luxury trains itself, is another possibility being considered, said the official.