A classification and categorization system for tourist-friendly railway services and experiences
Rail travel is recovering fast from the impacts of Covid-19 pandemic, only to find important changes affecting traditional and no traditional travellers. Hybrid forms of work as well as increased environmental concerns amongst travellers fuelling interest in less carbon-intensive modes of transportation, among other factors, are transforming the way people travel for work and for pleasure.
Railways are extremely underused when it comes to leisure travel. Before the pandemic, less than one per cent of 1460 million of international trips worldwide used railways as a mode of transportation. This opens a world of opportunities for railway companies to attract new or repeat users by focusing on the requirements of leisure travellers.
Classification and Categorization systems are widely used in the Travel and Tourism Industry in order to provide trade partners and final customers with a benchmarking tool that allows comparison between services and companies. While railways use a wide set of classification and categorization systems based on the type of trains, the range covered, the speed and number of stops and the services offered, amongst others, it is the purpose of this work to explore the potential of a classification and categorization system that identifies rail operations and experiences used for tourist purposes.
The proposed system will help companies improve their tourist-oriented services and operations, and will allow trade partners in the travel and tourism industry -and end users- to identify services and experiences that are oriented to the particular needs of leisure tourists.
Building up from UIC TopRail “Guidelines on How to Increase Attractiveness for Rail Tourism” this paper explores the potential benefits of a classification and categorization of tourist-friendly rail services and experiences.
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