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Rail Travel is Expected to Gain Popularity

News As the second wave of COVID-19 approaches and traveling opportunities become limited, tourists become less inclined to make long-distance airplane flights. Many destinations remain closed today, and people make choices in favor of destinations that are closer to the places where they live. Some travelers express fears of flying as this might make them more vulnerable to the infection. This is where rail travel can become handy. Traveling by train is an environmentally friendly and safer alternative that can be the best option for domestic travel.

In a recent survey by GlobalData, 48% of respondents said that it is even more important to reduce environmental imprint than before the pandemic, and 37% say that reducing the imprint is as important as before. It may be easier to persuade people to travel by train because this is a cleaner transport than air travel. For tourists in Europe where landmarks have high density, this can be particularly entertaining as travelers can, for example, book a hotel in Rome, stay a couple of days in the capital, then take a train to Milan and see the country’s rural life on the go.

The environmental impact of air travel was a serious concern already before the pandemic. Today, there is even a “flight shame” movement in Europe that encourages people to travel by other means of transport instead of highly polluting airplanes. As lockdown limits the number of destinations where people can visit today, people are more likely to choose short-haul destinations and alternative means of transport.

Sustainability is an increasingly important factor for tourists these days. 36% of global travelers that participated in the survey by GlobalData want to know about sustainable initiatives of brands. For domestic tourism, rail travel has been more popular than air travel. For example, last year people made 2.1 billion rail trips and only 1 billion air trips. However, international rail travel is still a sphere that has much to develop. In 2019, there were 735 million international departures by air and only 41 million – by train.

Many people choose air travel for its speed and convenience but we can change this and make trains more popular. For example, the Eurostar cross-channel trail that connects Paris and London has been a success. When the world slowly reopens after COVID-19 limitations, domestic travel will benefit from this first and this is where rail operators can enjoy extra revenues.


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