International Rail’s new program sees early demand

International Rail’s new “Luxury Travel Collection” program has received strong interest from clients and agents according to Jonathan Hume, the company’s managing director.

Hume said there was strong interest for Belmond Trains in the UK and Ireland and the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada, which was due to agents receiving greater education.

“Although these types of products generally take a while to gather momentum, we have seen a significant increase in enquiries and bookings for both our European and Canadian luxury train packages since the creation of our luxury collection program,” Hume said, adding that trains in Africa were also starting to gain interest. Early trends indicate that the clientele of the luxury rail product was widespread, with good interest from the high-end cruising market.

“You’ve got the well-off retiree market, which fits in with the high-end cruising market, but you’ve also got people who want the experience, those people who want to tick a particular train journey off their bucket list, regardless of the cost,” said Hume. He added the Rocky Mountaineer product was more diverse with families, retirees and even people on their honeymoons.

A traditional seller of point-to-point rail in Europe, Hume said the company had been surprised in recent times by the demand coming out of Europe.

“We were a bit concerned with the recent unrest coming out of Europe, but we haven’t seen any negative effect in that region,” he said.

“I think what you’re seeing is a lot of redirecting in Europe from those put off by the recent events in Europe. We’ve seen Scandinavia and Russia lift as well as Spain.”

Hume also believes Asia is an emerging market for International Rail.

“With the fast trains coming out of China, fully independent travellers are becoming more confident in taking the train in China compared to before.”

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