Soni to flag off Royal Rajasthan on Wheels next month

December 30th, 2008 - 10:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Ambika SoniNew Delhi, Dec 30 (IANS) Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, a regal train chugging across the land of maharajas in western India, will start its maiden journey Jan 11 when it will be flagged off by Tourism Minister Ambika Soni.The train, according to the Rajasthan Tourism Department, will be a landmark in terms of comfort, luxury and service. It will also provide an alternative to the Palace on Wheels, India’s first luxury train, which is already booked till 2010.

“Rajasthan Tourism, Art and Culture Minister Bina Kak called on Ambika Soni Tuesday and urged her to inaugurate the train. Soni expressed her consent immediately,” the Rajasthan government said in a statement Tuesday.

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad will also be present during the inauguration of the super luxury train, a joint venture of the Indian Railways and the Rajasthan Tourism.

The Royal Rajasthan on Wheels will have a seating capacity of 82 and will have two super deluxe suites, 13 deluxe saloons, two restobars, international spa facilities, improved water supply and storage, boardroom and internet facilities.

The train will start its weeklong sojourn at New Delhi and return there after visiting Jaipur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Bharatpur and Agra.

Royal Rajasthan on Wheels is estimated to cost Rs.400 million in its initial stage. It is estimated to bring profits of about Rs.120 million in its first year. In comparison, its predecessor Palace on Wheels made a profit of Rs.85 million last year.

In the past four years, Rajasthan has witnessed a jump in tourist arrivals - both foreign and domestic. While the foreign arrivals went up from 6,29,000 in 2003 to 1.4 million in 2007, the domestic tourism numbers leapfrogged from 12.54 million to 25.92 million in the same period.

This, according to the state tourism department, is thanks to systematic investment of Rs.1.28 billion in conservation, restoration and development of monuments, forts, palaces, step-wells, heritage hotels, upgradation of tourist centres, landscaping works and rural tourism projects.

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