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Facilities For International Tourist

To encourage tourism in India, overseas tourists are given special facilities to make their travel in India more comfortable and easy. Visitors who come from far and wide need special help because of differences in language, rules, information and facilities that are normally available in their country.

Presently facilities available for International tourists include Special Quota for train reservations, Assistance Cells, International Tourist Bureau and Indrail Pass for unlimited travel across the country for a given time.

Special Quota

Foreign tourists and NRIs have a special quota reserved on many important trains on all zonal railway divisions. To avail the special quota, the foreign tourists have to buy their tickets in standard international currency; US Dollar, Pound Sterling or Euro. Those foreigners who have already exchanged their currency for Indian Rupee have to show the exchange certificate of an authorized national bank from where they have exchanged their currency. It is also necessary to mention their passport number and their country of residence to get tickets under special quota.

Assistance Cells

To facilitate foreign tourists on their visit to India and to help them by providing information, plan their travel, reserve their tickets and fulfill any other need related to their travel by railway, the Indian Railway has set up Special Assistance Cells at important Railway Ticket Reservation Offices.

Certain rules that are enforced on Indian nationals such as mention of age of the passenger on the reservation request form, are relaxed for foreign nationals as this practice is not common when booking tickets abroad or when they book their tickets through agents abroad, It is compulsory though to mention passport number andcountry of origin at the time of reserving the rail tickets.

International Tourist Bureau

International Tourist Bureaus have been created by Indian Railways for the ease and convenience of foreign tourists provided in main cities all over India. International Tourist Bureau offices are located in the following cities; Kolkata in the east, Chennai, Bangalore and Secunderabad in the south, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Jodhpur in the west and New Delhi, Agra and Varanasi in the north.

These bureaus are open from 8 AM to 8 PM with a short lunch break from Monday to Saturday and from 8AM to 2 PM on Sundays. The bureaus assist overseas tourists and Non-Resident Indians by providing information, reservation of tickets, planning trips etc.

Reserved tickets are issued by International Tourist Bureaus to overseas travelers and NRIs. Only those foreign travelers who have a valid passport and those that make payments in USD Dollars, Pound Sterling, Euros or Indian Rupees can buy tickets. Indrail passes which are special passes for foreign tourists can also be bought from the bureau offices.

Indrail Pass

Considering that the Indian Railways is the largest network of railways anywhere in the world, the best way for an overseas tourist on a budget holiday would be to use the Indrail Pass. This special pass allows the overseas visitors to travel the length and breadth of India using the full Indian Railways system i.e. any division of the Indian Railways on any route within the time the Indrail pass is valid. Indrail passes are meant for the convenience of foreign tourists and NRIs and are only sold to these categories of travelers and this pass can be bought by foreigners and NRIs only using USD (US Dollar), Pound Sterling or Euros.

Advantages of using Indrail Pass

  • Indrail pass allows the passenger holding the pass to travel anywhere on the complete Indian Railways network without any constraint of route or zone or train. Each Indrail pass has a specified validity during which period the Indrail pass can be used. Guarantee of reserved seats or berths however is not provided by Indrail pass.
  • Since reservation of seat or berth is not guaranteed Indrail pass holders are not charges reservation fee. Since it is the prerogative of the pass-holder to travel on any train, super-fast charges or surcharge on journey are not charged.
  • Indrail passes can be purchased from General Sales Agents appointed by the Railways in many countries abroad such as Oman, Malaysia, UK, Germany, UAE, and Germany, Nepal, Kuwait, Bahrain and Colombo hence foreign tourists from these countries can buy these passes when planning their visit to India.

Although reservation of seats or berths is not guaranteed by Indrail passes, tourists can get reservation against the pass from any Indian Railways Reservation office anywhere in India. Special quota is available for foreign tourists against which reservations can be made.

The Indrail passes are available for transit passengers and short-stay visitors as well as longer periods of validity. The short duration of validity can be for half a day or 12 hrs. one-day or 24 hrs., two- days or 48 hrs. and four-days or 96 hours. This is to help visitors from abroad who wish to visit only one or two places. Indrail passes have all the rules for the use of the pass printed on them.

International Tourist Bureau offices will answer any query or clarify the rules for the use of Indrail passes and provide other important information.

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