Posts Tagged With: india

Indian Luxury Train Travel demographic trends

This post is an overview of the inbound travel trends in India, over the years, taking a case of The Palace on Wheels Luxury Train in particular.

In 1982, Palace on Wheels started its operations but it didn’t reach it’s full potential till late 90s when entire charters were booked for the train & hardly any seats were available for departures.

From the beginning, the demographic mostly remained, US & UK citizens. They made up 50% of the passengers. The rest were mostly Europeans; Italian, Spanish, Russian, German & French. You would see middle aged married couples experiencing India for the first time & they loved it. They loved the romance of the journey. Although the train doesn’t discourage children, the journey is mostly meant for adults. You would still see a child on a few departures. 

Image

 

(Palace on Wheels Group on an excursion to Chittorgarh Fort)

http://www.thepalaceonwheels.com/

The demand kept growing over the years & you had to book 6 months in advance to get a reservation.  

The trend remained the same till 2008 & then the financial crisis had truly become global with most of Europe also in debt.

For the first time in over a decade there was a fall in overall demand. Groups from Europe became lesser, the US traveller was not to keen with so much uncertainty in the market & Mumbai’s 26/11 terrorist attack made the inbound travel scenario very grim.

 But there were positive signs from South East Asia, Japan & Singapore. Also, a new type of traveler for India was the big spending NRI (Non Resident Indian); They wanted to rediscover India, teach their children about their heritage and culture with first-hand experience. They started inquiring about Palace on Wheels. The train’s wheels kept churning even though some cabins remained empty.

After a while, by 2010, the train was running at full capacity again with US, UK & Russia again leading the numbers. There was a sharp decline of European travelers though. One could say, South East Asians had taken their place.

Now, since the last few seasons we are witnessing the following trend:

  • Australia: Their economy has grown & maybe it’s the cricket but India has become a very popular destination for them.
  • Middle East (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar): They’re probably just bored of seeing everything else & they really do define ulta luxury so Palace on Wheels is perfect for them.
  • China, HK : When neighbours become really rich, they do come to your house to show off.
  • South America, mainly Argentina : India’s an exotic destination for them & it’s always exciting to discover an entirely new culture in luxury.

 

Did you know?

China has surpassed the US on most amount spent, on an average by an international traveller (among many other things.)

Also, there have been more than a few repeat visitors to Palace on Wheels. 

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Maharajas Express Safari Bar

Maharajas Express Safari Bar

The Safari Bar & lounge is a perfect place to unwind after a day’s sightseeing with it’s sleek design and elegant ambiance & drinks are on the house.

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The Palace on Wheels – Origins

The Palace on Wheels - Origins

The history of India’s original luxury train.

At the time of the British Raj, when trains were revered as the most convenient form of transportation (many still swear by it in today’s date.); Maharajas and British royalty of course, had to travel in style. Thus, the concept and initiation of the Indian Luxury Train was brought about. Considered, a 5 star hotel on railway tracks, The Palace on Wheels was specifically designed for the purpose of transporting royalty from one destination the the next.

Rulers of princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Viceroy of British India travelled by these luxurious coaches. After independence, these coaches were parked and remained in this state for a quarter of a century until in 1981-82, when the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and Indian Railways launched a special heritage tourist train for providing a unique memorable experience to the tourists visiting Rajasthan.

The name Palace on Wheels was derived from it’s royal background of the coaches. Gradually State govt. and railway department brought many infrastructural changes in the coaches while keeping the same aesthetics of the interiors alive, matching the interiors of the royal state. The train was replaced by the air-conditioned broad gauges new train, which had 14 saloons, 2 restaurant cum kitchen cars, one Bar cum Lounge and 4 service Cars. The cabins of each saloon are attached with bath and shower. The train also has a well-appointed lounge, library and bar.

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Indian Luxury Train journeys: Taj Mahal

Indian Luxury Train journeys: Taj Mahal

A dream on rails,
Destinations with royal tales.

Maharajas of the past, would take leisure in this sojourn,
There’s a beauty in heritage, we are yet to learn.

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The Deccan Odyssey Luxury Train

The Deccan Odyssey Luxury Train

Maharashtra’s luxury train.
Listen in the top 10 luxury trains in the world.
It covers some unique off beat destinations along with more than 1500 years old Ajanta & Ellora Caves.
Catering is done by renowned Taj group of Hotels.

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Maharajas Express Luxury Train

Maharajas Express Luxury Train

The Mayur Mahal restaurant with unique theme decor and capacity to seat 42 guests is one of the in-house restaurant cars in the world’s leading luxury train.

http://www.themaharajatrain.com/

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Royal Rajasthan on Wheels Lounge

Royal Rajasthan on Wheels Lounge

The luxury version of Palace on Wheels train is Royal Rajasthan on Wheels train that departs from Delhi and covers Jodhpur, Udaipur, Ranthabore, Jaipur, Chittorgarh, Agra, Khajuraho and Varanasi, coming back to Delhi.
http://www.royal-rajasthan-on-wheels.com/

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Luxury Train – The Palace on Wheels

Luxury Train - The Palace on Wheels

The passenger coaches which were originally meant to be the personal railway coaches of the erstwhile rulers of princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Viceroy of British India. These coaches were not being used by the Indian Railways after independence in normal passenger trains on account of very rich and traditional interiors.

The name “Palace-on-Wheels” (POW) was derived from its royal back-ground of the coaches & first introduced in 1982. A new meter gauge air conditioned Palace-on-Wheels was introduced in 1990 & had 13 Saloons, 2 Restaurant cum Kitchen car, one Bar cum Lounge and 4 Service Cars. In order to further increase the amenities on the train and due to over all gauge conversion in the state, a new broad gauge Palace-on-Wheels has been constructed. & has been running since 1995. It’s 14 Saloons are inter-connected, the interior matching the aesthetics of the royal states. The cabins of each saloon name attached with showers.The train also has a well appointed lounge, library, bar & dining cars.

In the past 20 years of operations, the Palace-on-Wheels has been rated as one of the best ten luxurious rail journeys in the world.

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Luxury Train – Maharajas Express Crew Members

The Maharaja Train Tours are conceptualized as for providing a taste of personal hospitality while traveling in a Group. The guests re-live the Traditional Indian Hospitality during the tour. 

At the time of check-in, the guests are personally escorted to their Passenger Carriages and the butlers are available round the clock for the tea/coffee services in your cabins/sleeping chambers. These butlers are also responsible for the cleanliness of your chambers during the entire journey. Any specific diet request or special need of yours can also be conveyed to the Train Tour Manager through these butlers.

The Bar Lounge is manage by a supervisor & two attendants.
There is a Supervisor & three stewards in each dining saloon.
The On-board Kitchen is managed by Head Chef & his team of cooks.
The Spa treatments & laundry services are outsourced to private company & can be availed on prior request, on direct payment basis
The Railway Engine is diesel/electric based & operated by staff of Indian Railways.

For sightseeing tours, the total members are divided into groups of 25-30 persons & each group is accompanied by an English speaking guide. In addition, An Assistant Train Tour Manager also accompanies the Group for all excursions & sightseeing tours.

The Train Tour Manager can usually be contacted through Bar Supervisor.

 

 

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Golden Chariot Train – Lounge Bar coach

Golden Chariot Train - Lounge Bar coach

India’s first PAN South Indian luxury train.

Places Covered: Bangalore – Chennai – Mamallapuram – Pondicherry – Tiruchirapalli & Thanjavur – Madurai – Kanyakumari – Thiruvananthapuram – Backwaters & Kochi / Allepey – Bangalore

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