Trav­el­port sets out on high-speed rail

Travel Bulletin - - TECHNOLOGY -

High-sped trains have cap­tured a mar­ket al­most half the size of the air­line in­dus­try, prompt­ing GDSS to eye ex­pand­ing rail net­works as a fu­ture growth sec­tor for travel agen­cies. Trav­el­port cites a rapid growth in air­line-rail code­shares as a sign of things to come and has be­gun in­vest­ing in tech­nol­ogy that will al­low it to ex­pand its offering of high-speed rail net­works world­wide. Trav­el­port’s com­mer­cial di­rec­tor air com­merce Klaus Kre­her says more than 360 mil­lion pas­sen­gers now travel each year on the fast trains of Europe, in­clud­ing those of France, Ger­many, Italy, Spain and the UK. A fur­ther 360 mil­lion travel by high-speed rail in Ja­pan, with an­other 80 mil­lion in Tai­wan and Korea. “We’ve counted some 1.5 bil­lion an­nual pas­sen­gers on high-speed rail­ways world­wide,” Kre­her said. “Con­trast that to air­line pas­sen­gers at 3.3 bil­lion – rail is now al­most 50% of the size of air­lines and that gives you an idea of the phe­nom­e­nal growth of high-speed rail.” China, mean­while, plans to ex­pand its fast train net­work to as much as 20,000km over the next 10 years, prompt­ing Trav­el­port to be­gin talks with po­ten­tial part­ners to help bring the coun­try’s high-tech trains into its sys­tem. Many air­lines have em­braced the po­ten­tial of rail, with an in­creas­ing num­ber now offering air-rail code­shares that al­low seam­less travel be­tween air­ports and trains. Trav­el­port di­rec­tor of com­mer­cial strat­egy Scott Bar­ber says this multi-modal trend is in line with cus­tomer de­mands for home-to-ho­tel travel ar­range­ments, and that rail of­fers a rel­a­tively sim­ple value-add for travel agents to of­fer as part of a holis­tic ser­vice. “We have 93 air­lines now par­tic­i­pat­ing in air-rail multi-modal trips, that’s a 27% in­crease year on year,” Bar­ber said. “They are be­ing ful­filled through 17 rail op­er­a­tors glob­ally, in to­tal there are 108 coun­tries book­ing this.” Through its Smart­point plat­form, Bar­ber says Trav­el­port has at­tempted to sim­plify rail book­ings and re­duce un­fa­mil­iar­ity. “The book­ing com­mands are ex­actly the same as in air­line book­ings, it couldn’t be sim­pler,” he said. “It’s low-hang­ing fruit which agents would be more than happy to em­brace – we’re see­ing good early adop­tion and good feed­back.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.