Guwahati, Sept.6: There’s a “special” Puja bonanza up for grabs for Northeast tourists.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has for the first time launched special chartered tour packages for tourists of the region, starting with a Durga Puja tour of Calcutta.
The inaugural trip will start from Guwahati on October 19, where a group of 60 travellers will be taken to Calcutta for pandal hopping and sightseeing for five nights and six days.
“This is a first for the Northeast, whereby tourists will be taken from Guwahati to various popular tourist destinations by hiring special charted coaches. Each coach will accommodate 60 people,” Kaushik Banerjee, regional manager of IRCTC (Northeast), said today.
The packages will be all-inclusive, comprising confirmed return tickets by sleeper class, hotel accommodation, bus tour for sightseeing and all meals during the tour. Tour managers will oversee the trips.
The Durga Puja package comes at a cost of Rs 8,149 per person. “The cost of the package will come down if people travel in groups,” Banerjee said.
Apart from the puja trip, IRCTC, in its bid to promote outbound tourism, has lined up a slew of chartered tours from here from November. “We have lined up trips to Odisha (on November 22), Rajasthan (December 6) and the Golden Triangle (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur) on December 29,” he added.
“Our objective is to promote tourism in a big way and more importantly, inculcate the habit of travelling among the people of the Northeast. Likewise, we also have plans to promote inbound tourism, whereby people from outside the region will be able to travel to places like Kaziranga, Sohra, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. This way they will know more about this beautiful region, and shed a few inhibitions they might be having about the Northeast,” the official said.
On the budget hotels that the corporation is planning to set up in the region, Banerjee said given the current political situation in Assam, it would take time.
“We held talks with the Assam government for allocation of suitable plots at Betkuchi, Kamakhya, Kaziranga, Sivasagar and other places last year. But given the current law and order situation, it will take some time, maybe by next year. Once the plot is allotted, we can set up the hotel in about two years,” he added.