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Pandaw Expeditions to commence river cruise operations in lower Ganges by year end

Thursday, June 14, 2018, 14:06 Hrs  [IST]
P Krishna Kumar | New Delhi

India’s cruise tourism agenda is set to get a major shot in the arm with Pandaw Expeditions set to commence full-fledged luxury river cruise operations in India from the end of this year. Pandaw Expeditions, a 25-year-old river cruise operator in South East Asia, will start its India operations from December 23 on the lower Ganges sailing from Kolkata to Farakka. The seven-night itinerary will sail from Kolkata to Farakka in West Bengal with halts at Chandannagar, Kalna, Mayapur, Matiari, Plassey, Murshidabad and Baranagar.

The company will be deploying its 30-cabin boutique ship, Orient Pandaw for the India itinerary. Built in Vietnam in 2012 and having seen service in four countries, the Orient Pandaw features 30 staterooms on two decks, each of them with personal veranda space; indoor dining, a deck bar, a movie & lecture theatre and a spa. “We will be bringing our own Orient Pandaw to India. We will commence our first sailing on December 23 from Kolkata.  Like our other itineraries, the 7-day itinerary will be all-inclusive with a return journey from Farakka to Kolkata by train,” said Marco Rosa, Vice President - Sales & Marketing, Pandaw Expeditions. There will be off-board excursions every day to enable the travellers see and experience the local life, culture, environment, etc., he added. As part of this strategy, Pandaw Expeditions has appointed Delhi-based Travel Reps as its India Representative.

Rosa said that Pandaw has been operating river cruises in Asia for the last 25 years and have 17 ships with varying capacities. They currently operate exclusive river cruises in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar. “India is a new market, but at the same time a perfect market to introduce to our international customers as well as to the local market to experience this kind of world-class cruise product.  The ship we are bringing is quite intimate and boutique,” he said. Rosa said that they will look at promoting the product for corporate incentive groups in India. 

Pandaw Expeditions has already started promoting the Indian itinerary in the global market through its website.& “The packages are already on sale and we receiving good response from customers. Even pre- and post-tour itineraries for those who want to explore other destinations in India are also ready and up for sale,” said Ashish Saran, CEO, Travel Reps. According to Saran international clients who sailed onboard Pandaw in other South East Asian destinations will have the faith and trust level to book Indian itineraries. Travel Reps will educate their network of travel agents to sell the river cruise itineraries in the Indian market.

The ship will be in operation in the Lower Ganges from December to April, and again for the next sailing season starting from July 2019. 

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