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GOLDEN CHARIOT GETS ALL-TIME HIGH PATRONAGE

Times of India Feb 27, 2012, 04.59AM IST

MYSORE: An increase in the occupancy rate this season has given a welcome fillip to Karnataka's luxury train - Golden Chariot - which takes tourists to several destinations in South India between October and March. The occupancy rate has touched 42% already and is expected to reach 45 per cent in the next few rides. This is the highest occupancy rate since its launch four years ago. When it was started by tourism department and Indian Railways in 2008, the occupancy was just 20 per cent.

In the second year, it increased to 25% and later rose to 40 per cent.Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation Project director Srinivas said, ''This year the occupancy rate has increased to 42% which is the all-time high since its launch. We are expecting 45% passenger traffic by the end of this season.'' Apart from getting tourists from the US, Switzerland and England, this year the corporation has received tourists from countries such as Brazil, Austria and Australia. The Golden Chariot was launched for the first time in South India with an aim to promote tourism and aid tourists to have a glimpse of various places in south India. On slashing rates for domestic tourists, he said, "In a bid to attract domestic tourists too, we have given 20% discounts. In the initial years, the chariot used to ply only in two states - Karnataka and Goa. It was extended to Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala with the new tag 'Southern Splendour.' This helped to increase the tourist inflow. We have overcome all shortcomings and would be in a good position by 2014."