Kerala

KSRTC budget trips a hit among tourists

Travellers of KSRTC budget tourism service at Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary on the way to Rosemala.

Travellers of KSRTC budget tourism service at Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary on the way to Rosemala.

When the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) announced its pilot budget tourism package from Kannur to Wayanad last year, there were 200 bookings on the very first day. In the next couple of days, the Kannur depot saw enquiries pouring in, leaving no seat vacant for the inaugural service.

And it came as no surprise as the trips rolled out by the KSRTC’s Budget Tourism Cell have been drawing a lot of travelers in all districts.

“The cell was formed on October 28, 2021 and we started the tourism services from November 1. Till December 31 we operated 525 services and a spate of new routes were introduced this month. The response during the last two months has been excellent and at present all our packages are much in demand,” Jacob Sam Lopez, Chief Traffic Manager, Budget Tourism Cell, KSRTC, told The Hindu.

The itinerary and destinations are picked by the district coordinators depending on various factors, including traveller preference.

Preferred destinations

While Munnar remains a top-rated destination, there are many takers for ecotourism circuits such as Thenmala and Nelliyampathy.

“Apart from the destinations, the travel itself is a treat when it comes to remote destinations like Rosemala. As a Keralite, I feel more at home inside an “anavandi” and I thoroughly enjoyed all the trips,” says Anish Oommen Abraham, a travel vlogger who has tried the service from four different districts, including Malappuram, Thrissur, Palakkad and Kollam.

While the entry fee is part of the package, the travellers do not have to wait for connecting services like private groups. Each district depot offers customised packages connecting a string of tourist attractions and these also include two-day trips with accommodation.

Travellers to Munnar have the option to stay on air-conditioned sleeper buses spending just ₹100 a night.

Affordable rates

According to KSRTC officials, the unique selling point of the service is its highly affordable rates. While private tour operators charge a much higher rate to cover a single destination, the KSRTC package takes the traveller to different spots, spending adequate time at each of them.

“The trust in the KSRTC service and its network is another factor. Malayalis share a special bond with the KSRTC and this can be another reason for the immense response we are receiving,” says Mr. Lopez.

Since the feedback has been promising, the authorities are planning to operate on more routes and services without affecting their regular schedule.

“Recently the Neyyattinkara depot wanted to operate services to Sambranikodi and Munroe Thuruthu in Kollam. They have conducted two trips and the reservation is full for next week,” Mr. Lopez says.

As the services are normally scheduled on weekends and public holidays, adding weekdays to the trip calendar is also under consideration.

“Currently we are expecting some restrictions due to the third wave of COVID-19. We have been strictly following the protocol and we will announce more services if the new guidelines permit,” he says.


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Printable version | May 13, 2022 9:22:03 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ksrtc-budget-trips-a-hit-among-tourists/article38286972.ece