FRT 2025

Future Rail Tourism

Project information

  • Acronym: FRT 2025
  • Future Rail Tourism
  • Sector: Passenger
  • Project start date: 01/01/2024
  • Duration: 24 months
  • Project director: Marc Guigon
  • Project manager: Vanessa Pérez
  • Status: ongoing project
  • Project code: 2024/PAS/867

Project description

This project aims to identify the key factors shaping the future of Rail Tourism in the coming years. Five primary areas of change are expected to impact Rail Tourism significantly. These include lifestyle, social, and behavioral shifts linked to tourist expectations; environmental considerations, such as investing in low-emission trains to attract eco-conscious travelers; advancements in information and communication technologies to better inform tourists; improvements in rail station access and connectivity with other modes of transport; and transport governance reforms, like reorganising fare systems to make rail travel more affordable and accessible.

Railway connectivity and tourism are crucial for promoting sustainable travel. Enhancing intermodal connectivity supports tourism development and aligns with European sustainability goals. Projects like TopRail, which promote railway tourism by increasing service visibility, are vital. These initiatives help the railway sector diversify and grow alternative businesses while contributing to broader environmental and economic objectives.

Improving knowledge and exchanging information among the railway community and other stakeholders are essential for the success of this project. By fostering collaboration and innovation, the project will support the development of a more sustainable, efficient, and attractive rail tourism sector, benefiting travelers and the environment alike.

Project objectives

The primary objective of this project is to leverage the resilience demonstrated by leisure train services during last year’s crisis period to capitalise on the growing demand for sustainable and innovative rail-based tourism. This involves understanding and meeting new client needs, particularly for international travelers, and optimising current resources to offer attractive leisure experiences. Cooperation with destinations, tour operators, and other transport modes is crucial to create seamless and appealing travel packages that meet modern travelers’ expectations.

There is significant potential for international cooperation in railway tourism, given the novelty of the field and the pressing need for sustainable travel options. This project seeks to redefine tourism with a focus on sustainability, positioning railways as key partners in this mission. However, to fully realize this potential, challenges such as limited intermodality, cross-border services, affordability, and competitiveness of railway products must be addressed. Enhancing standardisation, technological integration, and coordination within the sector and with tourism stakeholders is essential for success.

Addressing passengers’ growing environmental concerns presents a timely opportunity for railways to enhance their image as an attractive and affordable travel option. With a critical window of the next five years, the project aims to improve customer experiences and market railways as a leading provider of sustainable mobility before other modes of transport catch up with their sustainable solutions. By doing so, railways can secure a more prominent role in the future of tourism and travel.

Project structure

WP1 - State-of-the-art on the factors influencing railway and tourism
WP2 - Survey design and Methodology application
WP3 - Final report preparation, where the main findings will be reported
WP4 - Dissemination of the results
WP5 - IRS Railway tourism products: definition and quality indicators.

Project members

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Wednesday 29 May 2024