Connecting tourism and rail: sustainability, challenges and business opportunities

Online (18 May 2021, 12:00-17:30 CEST)

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 is able to offer a wide range of tourism alternatives combining exclusivity, technology, luxury and sustainability whilst contributing to fostering local economies.

For more information check the TopRail website

Morning Programme

TopRail members and ETOA have joined forces to present a day’s programme to promote rail travel in the context of leisure tourism for European citizens and inbound visitors.
The initiative is composed of a one hour open broadcast event at noon and a training programme in the afternoon.

ONLINE BROADCAST (18 MAY 2021, 12 :00-13:00 CEST)

Are you interested in pan-European rail tourism?

UIC TopRail members and ETOA (the European Tourism Association) are happy to invite you to join us for an online broadcast about Rail Tourism on 18 May 2021 where representatives from across Europe will participate as speakers.

The purpose of this online event is to raise awareness and to encourage engagement between rail sector and trade actors in order to promote rail travel in the context of leisure tourism for European citizens and inbound visitors.

Looking ahead to 2030, this broadcast discussion of industry experts will explore the opportunities for the sustainable development and recovery post-Covid 19. Against the background of the climate emergency, the creation and distribution of new leisure rail travel products will be discussed with best practice examples drawn from international and intra-European case studies.

This session will have the participation of:

  • István UJHELYI MEP, Vice-Chair Committee on Transport and Tourism, European Parlament
  • Tim Fairhurst, Director of Policy, ETOA
  • Carles Casas, Director of Strategy, FGC and TopRail Chairman
  • Francisco Cardoso dos Reis, UIC Europe Chairman
  • Fabrice Morenon, Managing Director, SNCF Hubs&Connexions
  • Kurt Bauer, Head of long distance traffic, ÖBB, Austria
  • Christoph Hinterleitner, Head of pricing and revenue management, long-distance traffic, ÖBB, Austria
  • Jörg Ostwald, Head of Product, Services and Events Passenger Department, SBB, Switzerland
  • Yasunari Nakajima, Senior Fellow, JR-East, Japan
  • Carlo Boselli, General Manager, Eurail
  • Serafino Lopiano, Head of Haul Sales, Trenitalia

New participants to be added very soon.

This session will act as an introduction to subsequent training and commercial events organised by TopRail and ETOA for the development of European rail tourism.

Please join the broadcast using the following link:

Afternoon Programme


14:00-14:10 Welcome | TopRail

14:10-14:50 Keynote | Tim Fairhurst, Director of Policy, ETOA – European Tourism Association

Keynote – additional contributors

Susanne Etti, Environment Impact Specialist, Intrepid Travel
Toni Rixson, Rail and Ferry Manager, MIKI Travel
Brenda MacKellar, Product Manager, Tauck

  • European policy perspectives on recovery
  • Travel trade ecosystem: global to local
  • Success factors for rail tourism
    • Increase in product awareness (B2B & B2C)
    • Collaboration with industry, destinations and local transport
    • Accessibility, client safety and reassurance
    • Efficient booking processes and option of end-to-end ticketing
    • Good reputation for service, quality, reliability and value
  • The view from Asia and North America
    • Perspective from Japan
    • Perspective from North America

14:50-15:00 Break

15:00-15:30 Presentation 1 | Tour Operator Perspective – Product Development & Sustainability

Alex Narracott Founder and CEO, Much Better Adventures / Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency
Paolo Meineri, Senior Director Procurement, EF Educational Tours

  • Customer demand/expectations
  • Smart product development and combination
  • Use of thematic hooks and cultural routes
  • Product diversification and scalability: FIT and groups
  • Sustainability

15:30-15:40 Session 1 Q&A

15:40-15:50 Break

15:50-16:20 Presentation 2 | Intermediaries’ Perspective – Planning, Distribution and Operations

Christina Russe, Deputy Secretary General ECTAA – The European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association

  • Ticketing and distribution demands
  • Intermodality
  • Cross-border and inter-regional product
  • Sustainability

16:20-16:30 Session 2 Q&A

16:30-16:40 Break

16:40-17:10 Breakout Sessions
Delegates are broken into groups with speakers plus the additional travel trade representatives to interrogate specific issues arising

  • Asian Market – Trends and product demand
  • North American Market – Trends and product demand
  • European Market – Trends and product demand
  • Sustainability
  • Ticketing & Distribution

17:10-17:30 Breakout Session Recap and Q&A Outputs

Registration for the training

This is a TopRail initiative

in cooperation with ETOA

The training will be held online.




Should you have any questions please contact us at

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Monday 19 April 2021