Wednesday 19 June 2024

TopRail Meeting in Slovakia

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The UIC TopRail group of experts, which focuses on enhancing rail tourism and the customer experience for tourists on board trains, recently held a significant meeting and technical visit in Slovakia from 22 to 23 May 2024. The event, hosted by ZSSK (Slovak Railways), gathered industry experts and representatives from various countries to discuss and develop strategies for improving rail tourism.

The meeting kicked off on 22 May 2024, at the main entrance hall of Bratislava Hlavna (Central Station). Attendees were welcomed before embarking on a scenic journey from Bratislava to Poprad-Tatry aboard the ZSSK Express Train No. 605. The first class coach was reserved for TopRail members and provided a comfortable setting, complete with snacks and refreshments, allowing the group to validate the KPIs to measure the experience of customers on board from a tourism perspective, a subject in which the group has been immersed for the past year.

Upon arrival in Poprad, the participants headed to the SATEL hotel, conveniently located within walking distance. The official TopRail meeting took place at the ZSSK workshop in Poprad, beginning with a welcome and the approval of the previous meeting’s minutes. Following this, updates from UIC were shared and ZSSK presented their latest developments. Key topics included the Implementation Plan TF Classification and a round table, during which members shared news and updates from their respective organisations.

The first day concluded with a social dinner hosted by ZSSK, providing an opportunity for informal networking and further discussions.

On the second day, participants were treated to a technical visit of the ZSSK workshop, where they explored the latest innovations and operational practices. This was followed by a breathtaking train tour through the High Tatras, showcasing the region’s natural beauty and highlighting the potential for rail tourism in scenic areas.

An optional third day offered a walking transfer from Hotel SATEL to the Poprad-Tatry station, where attendees could depart on the ZSSK IC train No. 44 to Bratislava or Vienna, ensuring a smooth and scenic end to their visit.

This meeting not only facilitated the exchange of valuable knowledge and strategies, but also emphasised the importance of collaboration in enhancing rail tourism as one of the best ways of fostering sustainable tourism.

TopRail is a sector of the UIC department whose members have been working for over 10 years on exchanging best practices and promoting rail tourism, both as a vector for territorial development and as a key tool for fostering sustainable tourism and mobility policies.

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