SAYONI BHADURI – Mumbai
France-based rail distributor Rail Europe has been selling Indian Buddhist trains to the international market since 2010. But it has been a challenge, said Florence Pasquier, commercial director, Rail Europe. “The bookings for the trains are very hard to come by as they are very heavily booked and follow fixed schedules,” she added. The seasonality of the trains and lack of awareness and information about these trains have also taken a toll on the bookings for the Buddhist trains via Rail Europe’s system.
Pasquier further added that there is a huge demand for Indian luxury trains in the global travel and tourism market, and Rail Europe would be very keen to have them on their distribution list. The demand comes from countries like Japan, Australia, Korea and South American nations. “We already have the Rocky Mountaineer by VIA Rail in Canada; the Indian luxury train would be an additional train experience on offer,” she said, adding that, Rail Europe has the ideal distribution network to allow better business.
Rail Europe India, the subsidiary company in India, is also looking at increasing business from India in 2012 to make it the third biggest source market in the world. Pierre-Stéphane Austi, CEO, Rail Europe informed that they will be improving the office space for operational business, a strong focus on the B2C website will be given, where in the website will be available in Hindi language. Year 2013 will be promoted as Year of Switzerland by Rail Europe in India offering improved product to and in Switzerland. “We will also improve commissions for travel agents promoting and selling Swiss destinations along with improve marketing budgets and incentives,” he added.