“As the world opens up, I expect small steps towards a restart on rail travel in Europe”, says Vivek Gupta, founder & director – Amigo Travels Pvt Ltd. An exclusive with Reema Lokesh – founder, Reemarkabl.
1: Certain European regions are opening doors to tourism with increased promise. As Rail Tourism experts of the region, what’s your vision of the new momentum?
As the world opens up post Pandemic to endemic, I expect small steps towards a restart on rail travel in Europe. Travelers would prefer rail travel as it gives them more space and ease of travel. Point to Point travel within European Countries would be a starting, which would then lead to travel on Passes (Popular – Swiss Travel Pass). It would still be a challenge to reach 2019 numbers within the next 24 months and this too would be possible if there are no major further waves coming in and the concentrated effort put in by the railways (promotions) and the aggregator (GSA).
2: What are the initial challenges you envision?
The European Union needs a single protocol at all times for the traveler to travel and cross boundaries. Europe presently is a large set of country’s with different COVID protocols. These keep changing regularly leading to confusion and stress for the traveler. We need to have a simpler and uniformed COVID travel Protocol for travelers to follow while in Europe. We need to convince travelers to start venturing out and use the railway network which is spacious, frequent and timely as compared to other modes of travel. This has to be done through awareness drives and promotions to attract them back. A Major role here has to be played by the Railways themselves and their support to the GSA who takes these initiatives.
3: Your thoughts on what travelers need to keep in mind as cardinal rules in the post vaccinated world?
In the post vaccinated world irrespective what the western world feels, travellers have to follow protocols of travel in common areas. They need to be disciplined and remember that they are in an overseas country wherein they cannot afford to fall sick. Products like Mediclaim Oversea’s Policy, Masks and sanitizers have to be carried at all times. He also needs to have a Plan B ready in case of emergencies.