Monday, 9 December 2013

At the recently held World Travel Awards on 30th Nov, 2013 in Doha,
Maharajas Express has got awarded the title of World’s Leading Luxury Train for the 2nd time in a a row.
The other nominees were:
Andean Explorer
Eastern & Oriental Express
Hiram Bingham
Rocky Mountaineer – GoldLeaf Service
Royal Canadian Pacific
The Blue Train
The Golden Chariot
The Indian Maharaja Deccan Odyssey
The Queen of Scots Luxury Touring Train
Venice Simplon Orient-Express
Special mention to Golden Chariot, that won in “Asia’s Leading Luxury Train” Category.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Indian luxury train travel 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.

(Palace on Wheels group on an excursion at Chittorgargh Fort)

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 traveller 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 enquiring 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 travellers 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 some repeat visitors to Palace on Wheels. 

Monday, 21 October 2013

The Golden Chariot Luxury Train

Pride of South Journey

Discover southern jewels - The temples, palaces & churches.

Visit an offbeat wildlife sanctuary.

Relax on serene beaches.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

The Maharajas Express Luxury Train

A journey where you get to catch up with history.
Lost splendor's. Remnants from princely eras explored in fashionable style.
The exclusivity of a comfortable adventure.
Get in touch with your royal side.
Disover the Maharaja in you.

On the Maharajas Express.
Luxury Train

Monday, 7 October 2013

The Palace on Wheels

The Palace on Wheels

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.

The Palace on Wheels Website

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.