I recently had the opportunity to speak at the 9th World Congress on High Speed Rail, the world’s most important meeting for high-speed rail.
Hosted in Tokyo, the event was opened by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who stressed the need for increased mobility and capacity between major hubs to generate economic growth. The event represented the perfect platform to talk about the promising high speed rail market and Amadeus’ vision for rail in the region, and I was very encouraged by the positive response I received.
The high-speed rail market has grown nearly tenfold in the past 25 years and most of this growth has been driven by Asia Pacific. Japan alone now moves over 400 million passengers per year, and China will add no less than 8000 kilometres of high speed track by 2020, planning to make a high-speed Trans-Siberian line a reality together with Russia. Furthermore, the recently published Traveller Tribes report expects high-speed rail to make up 30% of new track globally by 2030. Yet the audience’s general feeling was that rail is still far behind both air and road transport in taking advantage of IT evolution in the last 50 years.
The opportunity for high speed rail in Asia Pacific is clearly there. In an increasingly competitive environment, the key for rail players will be to understand where travellers search and book for travel, be it via travel agencies or websites, or their own channels. Working hand-in-hand with travel sellers will be vital to integrate rail into the travel ecosystem and facilitate a door-to-door trip. For today’s traveller, having on-board wi-fi or silent carriages can make or break the trip – harnessing business intelligence can lead the way to tailor the offer and increase traveller loyalty.
Our rail solutions, now used by major railways in Europe, are ready to address the needs of both rail operators and travel sellers by leveraging business intelligence, integrating multiple sales channels through the Amadeus GDS, and creating a seamless multi-modal travel experience.
If you were at the event, let me know what you thought and take a look at #HSR for more pictures and news.