World Rail Tourism
In the context of steadily growing international tourism, TopRail is a UIC group that actively promotes railway tourism products by increasing the visibility of service offerings.
This is accomplished by providing a platform enabling close collaboration between stakeholders and their customers to encourage railway tourism opportunities.
In 2016 UIC has launched toprail.org created with the latest information directly provided by its own railway companies with the ambitious goal of presenting a global overview of the existing leisure experiences by rail.
Tourism by railway is heterogeneous and attractive for all types of customers (youth, adults, active, retired, families, railway enthusiasts, people who discover railways, domestic and international tourists) and there are many opportunities to develop and enjoy leisure by rail.
Some examples are found below:
- Trains as tourism products (journey or cruise trains) such as the Orient-Express, the Bernina Express, the Transcantábrico, the Shiki-Shima train…
- Trains running on scenic lines such as the Tibet train, Train des Hirondelles (the Swallow line), Trans- Siberian…
- Trains providing mobility at a tourist destination connected to mainline lines: urban tourism, eco tourism, culture, spots, wine, gastronomy…
- Heritage railways (steam trains…)
Supporting sustainable tourism using railways is not only a strategic framework for ensuring a positive image of railways but also a way to answer to social concerns, create a competitive advantage and manage risk. It could also be an important contribution to encourage territorial development policies.
During the International Year of Sustainable Tourism the TopRail group will identify:
- Strengths of railway tourism, and effective means of communicating with the market
- Sustainability risks and appropriate management approaches
- Key indicators, measurement and tools to support communication and benchmarking
The governance of transportation services requires consensus that is essential for the image of countries as well as the tourism and railway industries. It is crucial to improve communication between stakeholders and promote collaboration on an international level.
The TopRail Workshops will address key challenges and new tourism trends to provide an overview of the different dimension of railway tourism projects and services:
Sustainable tourism: well-designed and well-managed railway tourism products are related to the three pillars (social, environmental, economic) of sustainable development and can contribute to sustainable tourism challenges.
Regional development: railways have always been closely linked to regional development. This approach will provide insight into the impact of accessibility in tourist destination choices and the importance of partnerships in the creation of successful tourist railway projects.
Heritage protection: by protecting heritage we recognise its importance. Railway tourist projects are at the core of enabling an increased knowledge of nature and railway heritage.