NEW DELHI: The summer lure of Ladakh is not only limited to thrill-seekers. Even travel companies are getting attracted by the prospect of jingling coffers as hoards of travellers descend on the ‘roof of the world’. IRCTC, the ticketing-to-catering arm of Indian Railways, has become the latest to bid for a pie of the adventure tourism market with a tour package for bikers.
The company has launched a 12 days/13 nights package for Manali-Leh-Srinagar motorcycling tour for an ever-expanding number of young and restless who want to do their own ‘Motorcycle Diaries’ or play Rancho, the character from the Bollywood blockbuster ‘Three Idiots, or simply find their Shangri-La on two wheels.
The package is for a group tour with fixed departure date. IRCTC is throwing in motorcycles and basic riding gear along with twin-sharing accommodation and food in the package. This will attract those who do not want to ride all the way from their home towns or do not have a motorcycle but used to ride earlier. The package also a support team to accompany the group.
IRCTC is offering a package for bikers for the first time, marking its entry into the adventure tourism segment. It is also for the first time that the company is offering a package for a destination that is not connected by rail. The company has been offering such deals for other tourist destinations in the railway network.
Ladakh is expecting a rush of tourists, including on two wheels, as states lift Covid curbs on travel. The Manali-Leh-Srinagar ride is on the bucket list of every adventure lover who rides a bike. Before the pandemic, Ladakh attracted some 3 lakh visitors, both domestic and foreign, during the short summer. Many of them came on their motorbikes, while others chose to hire one for exploring the natural treasures of Ladakh.
Biking holidays are gaining in popularity along with the growth in sales of two-wheelers. Motorcycling tours, especially to Ladakh, have emerged as an expanding niche in the travel market as more and more youth want to experience the thrill of riding through Ladakh’s stunning topography or explore the country on two wheels.
IRCTC is also offering a ‘normal’ group package wherein the booked guests will be flown to Leh from Delhi and back. In Ladakh, they will be taken to the tourist hotspots in cars and provide meals and accommodation.