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First time in 90 years! India surpasses China and Japan to become Rail Europe's second-largest market

Through partnerships with prominent Indian travel companies such as MakeMyTrip, Thomas Cook, and Swisstours, Rail Europe has positioned itself as the preferred brand for European train bookings.

First time in 90 years! India surpasses China and Japan to become Rail Europe's second-largest market snt
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First Published Feb 6, 2024, 5:05 PM IST

India has now become the second-largest market for Rail Europe, marking a significant milestone in the company's 90-year history. Despite delays and challenges in visa appointments, a considerable number of Indian travelers explored popular European destinations such as London, Switzerland, France, and Italy last year.

Bjorn Bender, President and CEO of Rail Europe, disclosed in an interview with ET that India emerged as the company's second-largest market in 2023, surpassing countries like China and Japan. The United States retained its position as the primary market for Rail Europe.

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Last year, Rail Europe, a leading rail-ticketing company, sold approximately 5 million train tickets worldwide for European destinations, with half a million tickets sold in India alone. This reflects a remarkable 60% growth in global revenue for the company.

Bender acknowledged that while India has always been a significant market for Rail Europe, it has now ascended to the second position. He attributed this achievement to the Indian market's swift recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic compared to other nations. Rail Europe is dedicated to further strengthening its presence in India by investing in local teams and travel agents.

Through partnerships with prominent Indian travel companies such as MakeMyTrip, Thomas Cook, and Swisstours, Rail Europe has positioned itself as the preferred brand for European train bookings. The company offers a diverse range of products, collaborating with over 200 rail providers and providing access to rail passes like the Swiss Travel Pass and Eurail Passes. The catalog includes renowned rail providers such as SNCF, SBB, Eurostar, Trenitalia, Italo, DB, Renfe, ÖBB, SNCB, NS, OUIGO Spain, and National Rail.

Bender expressed confidence in India's growth potential, anticipating a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of at least 20% in the upcoming years. He underscored that the European rail industry generates an annual value of 70 billion euros, with a considerable portion of tickets sold outside of Europe. Rail Europe aims to sustain its market share in non-European markets and capitalize on the increasing demand from countries like India.

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Bender also emphasized the efforts made by countries like Switzerland to streamline visa processes for Indian travelers. He noted that Switzerland, alongside London, France, and Italy, remains among the most sought-after destinations for Indian travelers who prefer train travel.

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