Rail Europe hopeful of reaching pre-pandemic bookings in 2024
During his first ever international visit after having taken over as President and CEO of Rail Europe in November 2022, Bjorn Bender spoke about the potential of the Indian market, scope of growth and their B2B outreach activities.
Talking to TravelBiz Monitor at the Rail Europe office in Mumbai, Bender said that they are positive about the outlook for 2023-2024. “India has already shown signs of recovery for us in 2022; and is the second best market for us after the USA. We are planning to reach pre-Covid level of bookings by next year, depending on the industry at large, and the pace of recovery overall. India is a very relevant market for a train tech company like Rail Europe.”
Bender said that they closely work with European states’ destination promotion agencies to offer rail journeys to the Indian clientele. “Train journeys are a unique way to explore Europe in all its glory. The high speed trains remain our top selling product in India. Indians love Switzerland, and the Swiss Travel Pass and EU Rail Pass are very popular among the Indian clientele.”
However, the visa delays continue to remain a big deterrent for Indians willing to travel to Europe, and Bender said that they have received assurance from their partners that in the days to come, the situation will see some improvement. “In India, we work very closely with Switzerland Tourism, German National Tourism Organization, Atout France, and the feedback we are getting from them is that they are working closely with Embassies and Consulates to address the issue. It has been a pain point from the last year; we have received positive feedback from them that in the days to come, the situation will streamline further.”
In terms of trade outreach, Rail Europe is conducting onground trainings, and has seen increased traction from the Tier-II markets of Lucknow, Indore, Guwahati, Jaipur, Chandigrah, Nagpur and Nashik, besides the main metros. “We are participating in trade shows like SATTE, OTM and ITB India either directly or our channel partners. We are revisiting our existing partnerships with the travel trade in India, and our message is clear, travelling via trains is easy and comfortable. We are also evaluating new partnerships with some OTAs in India.”