TopRail, the UIC working group focused on Tourism Potential of Railways, held its first meeting of the year once more in Madrid, hosted by the Spanish Railway Foundation. The meeting was attended by railway representatives from Austria, Hungary, UK, Italy, Ireland, Spain, as well as from Japan and Russia.
It had been decided by members to have this meeting in Madrid, given that the 38th International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) was taking place at the time, and this gave the members the possibility of taking part in the event.
The workshop was opened by Cesar Lopez, General Manager of the Spanish Railway Foundation, and Mr Marc Guigon, Director of the UIC Passenger Department. It was steered by Mr Carles Cases (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya, Spain), Chairman of the TopRail group.
The session started with a warm welcome to the new official TopRail members: SBB (Swiss Raiways), Renfe (Spanish Railways) and FS (Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane).
During the meeting information about the Spanish, the Austrian and the Greek Railways new projects were presented, as well as new activities to be done during the next year with a special focus on the opportunities of the digitalisation.
The main tasks accomplished in 2017 were highlighted:
- MOU with Fedecrail and Wattrain Federations
- Three workshops on Sustainable Tourism followed by:
- The TopRail guidelines on Sustainable Rail Tourism
- The TopRail Charter on Sustainable Rail Tourism
- The increasing number of visitors to the TopRail.org website
- Impact on the Media (WTM magazine, Travel and Tour World…)
- TopRail presence at international meetings and events:
- OECD Committee Workshop on Megatrends and Tourism towards 2040
- Fedecrail international Conference
- Fitur International Tourism Trade Fare 2017
Regarding the tasks to be accomplished in 2018, during the next few months the group will focus on the organisation of the first TopRail Forum to be held in Barcelona on 20 April 2018.
The meeting ended with a visit to the Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) to get a glimpse of the state-of-the-art in the world of tourism trade, that was holding one of its most important events of the year during that period in Madrid.
If you are interested in discovering the potential of the Tourism on Railway business and in meeting the main actors of the sector, the TopRail members encourage you to take part in the First TopRail Forum to be held in Barcelona on Friday 20 April 2018.