Mumbai: Travel firm Cox and Kings Ltd has partnered with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corp. (MTDC) to operate the Deccan Odyssey, a luxury train, for the next five years.

As part of the agreement, Cox and Kings will manage on-board and off-board services, sales, marketing and operational activities. The contract is for five years with an option to extend it by another five years.

The Deccan Odyssey will now have 10 itineraries instead of two. “As the partners, we have revamped the itinerary, food, amenities and customer experience. We will look at increasing the number of spas, provide Wi-Fi and live televisions. We will also be responsible for marketing this initiative in the US, Europe and Australia to begin with," said Arup Sen, director, special projects, Cox and Kings.

The price remains unchanged for the existing itineraries: it will cost over 3 lakh for a seven-night/eight-day trip with single occupancy.

However, travellers can opt for lower priced, shorter trips. The minimum price will be about 64,200 excluding taxes for a two-night/three-day trip to Shirdi from Mumbai with single occupancy.

The train has 21 coaches and a capacity of 80 passengers. It has presidential suits, a conference car, a dining space, a spa and a bar.

India has five luxury trains—the Palace On Wheels, the Deccan Odyssey, The Golden Chariot, the Royal Rajasthan On Wheels and the Maharajas’ Express.

“India has the highest number of luxury trains. For instance, China has only two, while South Africa has three. The high number of luxury trains leads to competition, affecting the profitability of the luxury train sector," said Jagdish Patil, managing director, MTDC.

Luxury train revenue has seen a decline in the past three to four years. “There was an increase in revenue (for the Deccan Odyssey) till 2009 (from 2004). From 2009-10 onwards, we saw a decline in revenue and this has been the case with all luxury trains in India," Patil said.

Shares of Cox and Kings gained 0.93% to 292.55 on BSE, while the benchmark Sensex gained 0.02% to 26,442.81 points.

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