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Note for Aussie agents: trains can be faster than flight

August 29, 2014 Headline News, Rail No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Agents selling international travel should think beyond flights and hotels once their clients reach their overseas destinations.

High-speed trains offer fantastic ways of getting around Europe and many other places. In many cases, train travel is actually faster, point-to-point, than flying. Ultra-fast train

A group of rail experts met with travel media at Sydney’s stylish QT Hotel in the heart of the city on Wednesday to outline some of the opportunities rail presents.

Rail Europe’s manager Australia, Ingrid Kocijan, said the company is the world’s number one distributor of international rail product. Many agents in Australia are not familiar with Rail Europe, she admitted, but they all know Rail Europe’s four GSAs: Rail Plus (where Kocijan worked for seven years before moving to Rail Europe in April), CIT Holidays, Rail Tickets and Infinity.

Kocijan, who has just transferred to Sydney from Melbourne, said Rail Europe had about 200 GSAs in the world and Australia was in the top 10.

Rail experts - from left, James Dunne of Rail Plus, Ingrid Kocijan of Rail Europe, Lindy Christian of helloworldRail Europe is the official distributor of French (SNCF) and Swiss (SBB) railways as well as the number-one distributor of train tickets including best sellers: Eurail Passes, Swiss Passes, Eurostar, TGV, ICE, FrecciaRossa, Thalys and more.

Rail Europe connects travellers to thousands of destinations from its network of European rail operators. Major train operators Rail Europe uses includes the London, Paris, Lille, Brussels connection on Eurostar, the French high-speed trains TGV and the international TGV Lyria. Others include Spanish rail operator Renfe with its AVE trains, Italian operator Trenitalia with its Frecciarossa, the German ICE trains, and the red Thalys, which connects Brussels to the Netherlands and France. French high-speed rail

Helloworld’s general manager global product, Lindy Christian, spoke of the many opportunities rail travel sales offer in an environment where remaining relevant to agents and adding value is essential for survival.

Rail Plus chief executive, James Dunne, said Australia was only scratching the surface of what was available in rail worldwide.

Dunne is from an airline background, having served as Singapore Airlines’ state manager for NSW/ACT Very cool ICE from Germanyand Austrian Airlines before that. He joined Rail Plus as chief executive earlier this year. Dunne said yesterday rail offered many advantages. You could arrive in many central city destinations faster by train that by air and the process was hassle free.

“You are 100% productive on the whole of your journey,” Dunne said. Many travellers use laptops or tablets as they speed across international rail networks.

Rail Plus Australasia is the leading dedicated international rail specialist GSA in Australia and New Zealand, supplying all leading retail travel agent groups and wholesalers. Operating from its Melbourne headquarters, Rail Plus provides a national booking and ticketing facility for the Australian travel industry. A branch in Auckland caters for New Zealand.

Perhaps the main message from Wednesday evening is that travelling in Europe by train has never been simpler or faster and Aussie travellers can easily reach famous metropolises like London, Paris, Amsterdam or popular cities like Venice, Barcelona and Geneva. With Europe criss-crossed by railways, more than 15,000 destinations can be reached by train.

Written by : Peter Needham

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