In a bid to tap the inbound domestic and international tourist crowd visiting Mysore, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC) here has shifted its focus on customising packages on demand for inbound tourists.

The change in focus from structured packages to customised packages stems from the growing realisation that Mysore has more inbound tourists than outbound travellers.

Hence, it would be prudent to have flexibility in this matter, to cater to visitors’ requirement and provide services as per their budget and convenience.

Priyakrushna Mohanty, Assistant Supervisor for Tourism at the IRCTC Tourism Information and Facilitation Centre here told The Hindu that IRCTC had, in response to queries by tourists, designed packages to meet tourists’ budget, available time and the areas of interest in the region.

“We prepare the package and send it to them by email. We also provide details of accommodation and hotels to meet their requirements and the results so far have been very encouraging,” the Assistant Supervisor stated.

The bulk of these queries are from Tamil Nadu and Kerala from where a majority of the domestic tourists come. Earlier, IRCTC used to sell its packages to outbound tourists, which received a lukewarm response or even indifference.

With the IRCTC in Mysore shifting focus to inbound tourists and catering to their demand, it has reinvented these packages and made itself relevant to the region by catering to the inbound domestic and international tourists.

“A majority of the tourists are unaware of the kind of hotels available, the quality and the tariff, and we provide them with not only the information but also suggestions and links for online verification of the quality of services,” according to Mr. Mohanty.

“However, a confirmed railway ticket is something that we cannot promise or offer. Tourists should have their bookings done in advance,” the Assistant Supervisor added.

Mysore receives more than 3.5 million tourists annually (there was a slight fall last year due to the Cauvery agitation and general downturn in the economy) and these numbers are expected to grow.

So, customised packages, through tie-ups with local players in the travel, tour and hospitality industry, made sense for IRCTC.

Mysore is a tourist destination that can be promoted throughout the year and is also the base camp for lot of tourists from Maharasthra and Andhra Pradesh to visit Kodagu, Ooty and Wayanad.

In addition, IRCTC has seen a demand for Belur, Halebidu, Shravanabelagola, Shivanasamudra and Talakad, among others.

Mr. Mohanty said IRCTC also offers car rentals and has the lowest rate in the market. As far as the outbound tourist crowd from Mysore is concerned, there was a good response to IRCTC’s Tirupati and Shirdi packages.

The latest package, the ‘Rajasthan Special’, has evoked a good response. Over 20 bookings were confirmed from the city alone, according to Mr. Mohanty.

The ‘Rajasthan Special’ originates from Chennai with passenger boarding at Bangalore, Mysore, Hassan, Hubli, Bellary and Kacheguda, after which the train will cover Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Jaipur, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, with a visit to Mt. Abu thrown in as a bonus. The tourist special, with a group strength of 752 passengers, will leave Bangalore on October 9 and return on October 20. The 12-day tour would cost Rs. 19,050 for the ‘budget’ category, Rs. 21,370 for the ‘standard’ category, Rs. 27,950 for the ‘comfort’ category and Rs. 32,250 for the deluxe package.