Rail Europe’s President and CEO, Björn Bender, revealed in an interview with ET that India emerged as the second-largest market for the company in 2023, marking a significant milestone in its 90-year history.The United States remained its primary market.
According to Björn Bender, India became the second-largest market for the company in 2023, surpassing countries like China and Japan.
Rail Europe, a leading rail-ticketing company, sold approximately 5 million train tickets worldwide for European destinations last year, with half a million tickets sold in India. This represents a significant growth of 60% in global revenue for the company.
Bender acknowledged that India was always among the top markets for Rail Europe, but it has now risen to the second position. He attributed this success to Indian market’s early recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic compared to other countries. Rail Europe is committed to further expanding its presence in India by investing in local teams and travel agents.
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With partnerships with prominent Indian travel companies like MakeMyTrip, Thomas Cook, and Swisstours, Rail Europe claims to have established itself as the go-to brand for European train bookings. The company offers a comprehensive range of products, collaborating with over 200 rail providers and offering rail passes such as the Swiss Travel Pass and Eurail Passes. The catalog has rail providers, including SNCF, SBB, Eurostar, Trenitalia, Italo, DB, Renfe, ÖBB, SNCB, NS, OUIGO Spain, and National Rail.
Bender expressed optimism about the growth potential in India, expecting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of at least 20% in the coming years. He emphasized that the European rail industry is valued at 70 billion euros annually, with a significant portion of tickets sold outside of Europe. Rail Europe aims to maintain its market share in non-European markets and capitalize on the growing demand from countries like India.
Bender also highlighted the efforts made by countries like Switzerland to facilitate visa processes for Indian travelers. He mentioned that Switzerland, along with London, France, and Italy, continue to be the most sought-after destinations for Indian travelers who prefer train travel.