Wednesday 30 June 2021

Online UIC TopRail meeting held on 23 June

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The members of UIC TopRail met online on 23 June. The meeting was opened by Carles Casas, Chairman of TopRail and Marc Guigon, UIC Passenger Director, who shared a number of key messages regarding the UIC Passenger Department, the calendar for the next year and the General Assembly, which will take place on 8 July.

The meeting was attended by representatives from Russia, Iran, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Japan and the European Federation of Trams and Tourism Trains.

The key issues during the discussion included initiatives linked to the European Year of Rail, feedback from the ETOA broadcast masterclass and further steps. In addition, participants shared news from their networks.

The topics discussed included:

  • trends and current perspectives on tourism and sustainable travel – Daria Snigir, UIC
  • safety of tourism trains in Iran – Abdollahi Ali, RAI
  • Nightjets (synonymous with night trains in Europe) – Christoph Hinterleitner, ÖBB
  • recovery plans and the situation in Switzerland – Jörg Ostwald, SBB
  • marketing of tourist trains in Barcelona – Carles Casas, FGC
  • the new premium travel service in Italy: La dolce vita – Sandra Pansini, Trenitalia
  • Planet Budapest 2021 Sustainability Expo and Summit – Agnes Orosz, MÁV-Start
  • Tohoku destination campaign in Japan – Miki Tomosada, JR East

TopRail during the European Year of Rail

The European Year of Rail is an EU initiative which provides an opportunity for greater visibility and amplification of messages regarding the importance of rail tourism.

UIC TopRail is organising several actions in the context of the European Year of Rail:
A broadcast and masterclass with the theme “Connecting Tourism and Rail: Sustainability, Challenges and Business Opportunities” was held on 18 May in cooperation with the European Tourism Association, with more than 300 views on YouTube and 100 online participants.

A photo competition with the theme “My Secret Rail Spots” is also being organised. The aim of the competition is for railway employees to act as ambassadors for their railways and to share their favourite rail spots in order to inspire passengers to hop on a train and get to know these places once it becomes possible to travel again.

More information is available at https://uic.org/events/uic-toprail-photo-competition-2021-themed-around-my-secret-rail-spots

In addition, TopRail members are working on the “Music and trains bring people together” initiative with the aim of creating a single promotional video by mixing TopRail members’ products and musicians playing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy from different rail locations of interest to tourists.

The upcoming third TopRail Forum, “Railways and tourism: a cultural perspective”, which will be held online on 26 October in cooperation with the RailtoLand European Erasmus project partners, was also discussed during the meeting. The key issue to be addressed during this workshop is the landscape as a tourist resource, and how to connect cultural tourism and railways.

Concluding the meeting, it was noted that the next TopRail Meeting will be held on 27 September, which is International Day of Tourism.

What is TopRail?

TopRail is a UIC project that actively promotes railway tourism products by increasing the visibility of service offerings. This is accomplished by fostering close collaboration between stakeholders and their customers to encourage railway tourism opportunities. Railway tourism offers a wide range of tourism alternatives combining exclusivity, technology, luxury and sustainability whilst contributing to supporting local economies.

The next TopRail Forum will be held online on 26 October.

For further information on TopRail, please contact Vanessa Pérez, Senior Advisor, Passenger Department, at perez@uic.org

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