The members of TopRail, the UIC working group created to help raise awareness around Tourism Potential of Railways, had the chance to meet again, this time in Athens.
The meeting, effectively organised by our colleagues from Trainose, was attended by railway representatives from the railway operators of Austria, Hungary and Spain as well as representatives from the European and the World Tourist Trains and Tram associations (Fedecrail and Wattrain).
On this occasion the group had the opportunity to hear Ana Garcia Pando, former General Manager of Trenequador and currently working as a consultant for TopRail, present the first draft of her guidelines on increasing rail attractiveness for tourism. The purpose of these guidelines is to create a practical tool that will allow interested parties to set up, promote and/or sell rail-oriented tourism products to new or existing markets.
The group had the opportunity to admire a well-established rail-oriented tourism product in the Peloponnese the same evening: the Trainose Odontotos rack railway between Diakofto and Kalavryta.
To make their train more attractive to tourists (as the train is well supported by the inhabitants of the city), they came up with an offer allowing tourists to discover local products and attractions when they buy a train ticket to Kalavrita.
The TopRail members had the opportunity to board the train in Kalavrita the next morning to travel through the Greek landscape.
This last meeting of the TopRail working group was therefore a great success and strengthened ties between these representatives of so many different countries.
The main tasks to be accomplished:
- The collaboration between UIC and the publishing company Langages du Sud to produce a book about the most impressive tourist trains around the world is still ongoing, so do not hesitate to get in touch with us to be featured in the book.
- The second TopRail Forum will be held in Naples in May 2019.
- In the meantime, two other TopRail meetings will be held, the first one in November to prepare the Forum and the second one at the beginning of 2019 hopefully to welcome back our colleague Vanessa Perez.
- Guidelines on Increasing Rail Attractiveness for Tourism: survey to be conducted among members.
Over the next few months the group will keep working on these three topics. This group is open to all UIC members so do not hesitate to contact us should you be interested in participating.