Panaji, July 2 (IANS) Faced with the prospect of a sagging travel season, tourism stakeholders in Goa want Indian Railways to start fully air-conditioned holiday trains to the beach destination, complete with plush dining cars and ‘entertainment wagons’.
In a representation sent on Thursday to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Ralph de Souza, spokesperson for the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), also demanded holiday specials twice a week from Delhi to Goa, with a stopover in Mumbai.
“The trains, if possible, should only have AC compartments and with a well appointed dining car. It could also have an entertainment wagon so that the holiday experience can start from the departure point itself,” de Souza said in his memorandum to Prabhu.
Goa’s organised tourism market, which relies significantly on tourists from Russia and Europe, registered a drop in the number of arrivals from Europe due to the ongoing economic crisis in the continent as well as the prolonged hostilities between Russia and Ukraine.
Stakeholders like the TTAG, which has represented the interests of the tourism industry in Goa for many decades, now want to target domestic tourists from metros to cope up with the shortfall.
“A regular twice-a-week direct train from Delhi via Mumbai, one starting on Thursday for the weekend, and the other starting on Sunday night, for off-peak days of the week, with one stop at Mumbai before terminating its journey in Goa,” de Souza said in his memorandum.
Goa attracts nearly three million tourists annually, out of which half a million are foreigners.