International rail travel is poised to increase post-pandemic, says data and analytics company GlobalData, as tourists are likely to favour destinations closer home and look for ways to reduce their environmental footprint.
“Going into 2021 and still with no global vaccine available, many travellers are likely to holiday closer to home rather than risk venturing to international destinations and facing local restrictions or an extensive quarantine. As has been the case in China where COVID-19 first originated, both domestic and regional tourism were the first to benefit, and this should play into the hands of rail operators,” says Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData.
According to GlobalData’s latest global survey, 48% of respondents said reducing their environmental footprint is now more important than prior to the pandemic, and 37% said it is as important as before. With rail being a more environmentally-friendly form of transport, GlobalData says many will opt for this mode of transport over air travel.
“Prior to COVID-19, the environmental impacts of tourism were already under intense scrutiny. The flygskam (flight shame) movement was gathering traction across Europe as individuals were being criticized for neglecting the impact that flying can have on the environment. As countries have introduced stringent lockdown restrictions to battle the pandemic, travellers have been made more aware of the detrimental impacts travel can have on a destination and therefore, environmental concerns are likely to be a key consideration in future travel booking,” says Bonhill-Smith.
GlobalData’s latest survey also found that 36% of global respondents said they want to receive information and news regarding a brand’s sustainability initiatives. In comparison, an earlier survey conducted in MAR 2020 showed this was 34%.
While fears of flying and ever-changing air restrictions will give a boost to rail travel, GlobalData says it is “highly unlikely” it will surpass international air travel.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ’s newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she’s new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.