The third workshop on sustainable tourism by rail and TOPRAIL meeting was held at UIC Headquarters in Paris on 3 October. It was chaired by Mr Carles Casas (FGC), president of the group. The work session was opened by Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General. UIC was also represented by Mrs Vanessa Pérez, Advisor for the Passenger and High Speed Department, Mrs Alexandra Lefebvre, Head of the Mediacentre and Mrs Marie Luz Philippe from the UIC Sustainable Unit.
Representatives from ÖBB, RZD, KORAIL, JR-EAST, MAV-START, FERROVIE DELLO STATO ITALIANE (FS), TRAINOSE, FGC, UNECTO, WATTRAIN and the European Federation of Museums and Tourist Railways (FEDECRAIL) attended the meeting.
UIC, and its TOPRAIL group have recently launched two important documents in support of the United Nations Year of International Sustainable Tourism, 2017.
- The TOPRAIL Charter on Sustainable Rail Tourism;
- A set of Guidelines for Reporting on Sustainable Rail Tourism
By signing the Charter TOPRAIL members had showed their commitment to sustainable management by maximising social and economic benefits to their local communities and minimising and minimising negative impact. The Guidelines have been developed as a tool to demonstrate this commitment.
The 3rd workshop on Sustainable Tourism by Rail focused on the practical use of the Guidelines, which have been developed for members to leverage their existing sustainable development activities by using a set of indicators for international reporting.
Future actions of the TOPRAIL group were also discussed during the meeting.
The growing interest of the site, with more than 90,000 visitors during the last months, and the impact of the project in the media were highlighted, as well as the opportunities derived from the use of the social network.
It was agreed to keep on working on some ideas related to customer service and tourism trends to better understand the market, the challenges and the opportunities of the Rail Tourism Worldwide.
To that aim an international conference will be organised in 2018 to bring together the tourism industry and railway operators, as well as other key stakeholders, to analyse and discuss the key challenges of enhancing World Rail Tourism taking into consideration the tourism megatrends and the position of the railway sector to face them.
The next opportunity to join the group will be at the next meeting to be held in Madrid during the third week of January, at the same time as the International Tourism Fair in Spain (Fitur).