TopRail, the UIC working group focused on Tourism Potential of Railways, held its second meeting of the year last week. Due to the current situation the meeting was held remotely by webconference. The meeting was attended by railway representatives from Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Spain, Slovakia as well as from Japan.
During the meeting the latest news from the members were presented with a special focus on the Covid19 situation and how this is affecting all tourism services.
After an introduction given by Carles Casas, Chairman of TopRail and director of strategy and prospective of FGC, Vanessa Perez, UIC Senior Advisor, gave a presentation about how the association has react to this outbreak by creating the UIC Covid19 Task Force joined by more than 50 countries to share information, good practice and measures at international level.
Tim Fairhurst, Secretary General of the European Tourism Association (ETOA) sent an optimistic message to the members highlighting that this is a unique moment to rethink the future of tourism and how it should be more sustainable. This critical situation worldwide provides an opportunity to do contribute in a positive way towards climate change and railways could be key in this new tourism to be developed after the pandemic.
In relation to this idea, the work done over the last two years on how to attract tourism to the railways with the tourism Expert, Ana Garcia Pando, was approved. Both TopRail Guidelines, the Guidelines on Sustainable Tourism by Rail (UIC 2017) and the Guidelines on how to increase attractiveness for rail tourism (UIC 2020) are now available on the UIC TopRail website https://toprail.org/about
The session was followed by a discussion about the new activities to be done during the next year with a special focus on the opportunities of digitalisation and new technologies that will arise to foster rail tourism with the Benchmark that is being developed with the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) and the cooperation as partners of the European project RailtoLand. https://railtoland.eu/
Regarding the organisation of the III TopRail Forum that was supposed to be held in Lucerne on Friday 29 May 2020 kindly hosted by SBB, it was decided to postpone the event to a better moment. This decision has been understood and completely endorsed by the TopRail working group.
If you are interested in discovering the potential of tourism in the railway business and in meeting the key stakeholders in the sector, the TopRail members encourage you to join us.