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EIH planning luxury train cruises

September 19, 2003 09:28 IST

EIH Ltd is planning to introduce luxury trains in the near future in association with the Indian Railways.

Addressing a press conference after the company's annual general meeting, P R S Oberoi, chairman of EIH, said, "It is our intention to introduce luxury trains and we intend to talk to the Indian Railways for a possible joint venture".

In the past, the company had evaluated the option of acquiring the Royal Scotsman from the United Kingdom but the proposal failed because of antiquated machinery.

Meanwhile, EIH was in the process of launching a luxury house boat for the backwaters of Kerala. The luxury boat, Vrinda, would be launched shortly.

Oberoi said, if this venture worked out well then the company may launch more luxury boats. Oberoi also announced the re-branding of all its "Vilas" properties as The Oberoi Rajvilas, The Oberoi Amarvilas, The Oberoi Udaivilas, The Oberoi Vanyavilas.

The Cecil, Shimla would also be re-branded as The Oberoi Cecil. The decision to re-brand all the "Vilas" properties was taken after a survey showed that some customers perceived the "Vilas" as separate and distinct from "The Oberoi" brand.

Commenting on the recent strategic alliance between EIH and Hilton International for the group's Trident Hotels, Oberoi said, under this alliance EIH would continue to manage, operate and undertake domestic marketing of all its hotels, while Hilton would be responsible for international marketing, promotion and reservations through the Hilton
International network.

Oberoi said, the company was also evaluating options of more strategic alliances for "The Oberoi" brand but nothing has fructified yet.

The company is planning major expansion programme outside the home country. In Maldives and Dubai, the company would take up management contracts. The drafts of memorandum of understanding for the new projects had already been finalised.

BS Bureau in Kolkata