A rail travel expert, Kunal Kothari is a well known person in the travel industry. After spending eight years with Rail Europe India, Kunal has started KKR World and it currently represents and promotes two Rail products from Europe in India. TTJ meets up with the Founding Train Cognoscente, KKR World, to know more about the products that he represents.
Railtour Suisse and Rhaetian Railways are both popular products in India which are represented and marketed by Kunal. Railtour Suisse is well known in the India market for a long time now, offering some of the most exciting rail packages. Earlier, they even had representation in India. So, now it is kind of a comeback for Railtour Suisse in India.
Railtour Suisse is the largest rail tour operator in Switzerland. For the past 45 years they have placed their experience and expertise at the service of the leisure traveller. Being European rail travel specialists, they take pride and pleasure in organising rail holidays and related travel for foreign guests visiting Europe. Whether, standard or made-to-measure packages, for individuals or small groups, they offer a wide selection of services and arrangements in Switzerland and Europe. These include hotels, transfers, city sightseeing tours, mountain excursions, outdoor activities and more and also other special trains. You can look forward to the highest quality-service with them.
The Rhaetian Railway is a Swiss transport company that owns the largest network of all private railway operators in Switzerland. The Rhaetian Railway, across its various rail sections serves a number of major tourist destinations, such as St Moritz and Davos. Glacier Express and Bernina Express are both products of Rhaetian Railways trains, each in a class of its own.
Around the globe, the Glacier Express, the king of all panoramic trains, provides for prestige and admiration. The train journey on the Glacier Express takes you over spectacular bridges and through several tunnels, right across a picturesque landscape. Travelling towards the Oberalp pass, the Glacier Express reaches 2,033 meters above sea level as its highest point.
The Bernina Express is a train connecting Chur (or Davos) in Switzerland to Poschiavo in Switzerland and Tirano in Italy by crossing the Swiss Engadin Alps. For most of its journey, the train also runs along the World Heritage Site known as the Albula / Bernina landscapes. During summer one can get a chance to do the combination of Bernina Express train and bus ride that goes all the way from St Moritz or Chur via Tirano to Lugano.
Speaking about the two products, Kunal specifies, “Railtour Suisse is a tour operator in Switzerland and offers packages that includes rail journeys. It has returned to India as it has seen huge potential in this market. Meanwhile, with Rhaetian Railways, there is a wide range of possibilities. There are different types of experiences here. Rhaetian Railways offer excellent facilities on the Glacier Express. The Glacier Express now also has a new high-end product called ‘Excellence Class’. This is a compartment with only 20 seats, all windows with panoramic and painter views of the sceneries. It serves breakfast followed by a five-course lunch and each course paired with a different wine.”
Train travel in Europe is getting bigger and better with the Indians because it is not only exciting but is an experience in itself. It’s relaxing and you can see beautiful parts of the countries you travel through and it can also be a great way to meet people. While it’s mostly an ideal way to get from place to place in Europe, one can be amazed by the window gaping the Alpine glaciers or savouring gourmet cuisine in a restored last-century dining car. European trains don’t necessarily offer the fastest journeys, just the most memorable and classical ones.
“With Railtour Suisse, it’s not only exclusive Switzerland, but one can also look at popular tours of France or Germany or Italy or Austria. Tourists can also combine all these countries as per their preferences. These are many packages at Railtour Suisse but they all are rail packages. In India, Rail Europe does some eight packages of Railtour Suisse, but they are specific Swiss packages. What KKR World looks forward is at selling the other European packages as well, which are also getting popular nowadays. Railtour Suisse understands the possibilities of inbound and outbound revenue generation from these tours and they are now focussed on these aspects,” explains Kunal.
As one of the latest entrants in the travel representation business in India, KKR World will focus on the FITs, small groups, family groups and niche clients. “The products are selling well and I request the trade to book as soon as possible for peak season as India seems to be a late market and some bookings open 60 days prior to departures,” cautions Kunal.