UK set for major domestic and international rail revolution

UK set for major domestic and international rail revolution

The UK is undergoing significant rail developments on both domestic and international levels, which will see the train compete more effectively with road and air travel, reveals Euromonitor International research for World Travel Market London – the leading global event for the travel industry – released today (Tuesday 7 November) at WTM London.

Value sales of rail tickets to UK residents are forecast to be USD4.7 billion in 2017, according to the Top 100 City Destination Ranking WTM London Edition, by Euromonitor International.

The report says: “The decision on airport expansion around London keeps dragging on, and amid claims that UK airspace is overcrowded, legislators are looking for alternative ways of improving transport links.

“Furthermore, the impact of aviation on climate change, as well as localised pollution from increased congestion on cities’ roads, is putting rail in a more positive light.

“In 2017, London breached annual pollution limits after only five days. According to the office of the Mayor of London, 9,400 London residents die prematurely every year due to exposure to air pollution.

“Initiatives such as London’s congestion charge (charging drivers to enter central London) have had some effect, but have also increased overcrowding on public transport. 2017 and 2018 will see significant rail developments to alleviate some of this pressure.”

Channel Tunnel rail operator Eurostar is expanding its network, with a direct link with Amsterdam starting in December 2017. With a travel time of under four hours, it is believed that the rail provider can compete with airlines on one of the busiest routes in Europe.

Within the Greater London area, Crossrail and Thameslink are working on improving connections. Outside of the city, High Speed Two (HS2) will run from London Euston to Birmingham, Crewe and Leeds to improve connections to northern powerhouses.

However, if one man’s vision comes to fruition, it could render HS2 unnecessary.

Elon Musk, founder of PayPal, Space X and Tesla, is working on a new venture called Hyperloop One, a sealed tube through which pods can travel without air friction, at up to 1,200 km per hour.

The first Hyperloop connection is planned to be built between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, yet Musk has proposed several other viable routes in Europe. One eye-catching route is between London and Edinburgh, via Birmingham and Manchester, which would take 50 minutes.

Author Wouter Geerts, Senior Travel Analyst at Euromonitor International says: “While very much in the early stages, if it ever came into existence, the Hyperloop could make HS2 redundant.

“Once HS2 is completely opened in 2033, travel from Edinburgh to London will take three hours and 38 minutes.”

Hyperloop One has also proposed routes between Glasgow and Cardiff (89 minutes) and Glasgow to Liverpool (47 minutes).

While Hyperloop One might take a while to come to fruition, travel companies are starting to look at partnerships with companies specialising in the rail sector. For example, in May 2017, Expedia entered into an agreement that resulted in it holding a majority stake in ticketing company SilverRail, which processes more than 25 million bookings a year.

When he was Expedia CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi declared: “Rail is ready for an online revolution.”

The Euromonitor Report adds: “Expedia’s investment in SilverRail shows that the internet firm believes in the growing importance of rail, and integrating rail on its ‘flight-heavy’ platform. It is an important move for rail, as better online accessibility will reduce the barrier to usage by customers.

World Travel Market London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: “With concern growing about pollution and congestion both on the roads and in the air, it looks like rail could become part of the solution to UK domestic and international travel of the future.

“If the Hyperloop super-fast service comes to fruition, we could be seeing visitors to future WTMs arriving via pods in sealed tubes. Or, they could take a post- or pre-WTM London trip via Hyperloop to one or two of Britain’s other great cities to see what the rest of UK has to offer.”


About World Travel Market

World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises five leading B2B events across four continents generating more than $7bn of industry deals. The five events are;


WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Around 51,500 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL – London every November generating around £2.8 billion of travel industry contracts. Next event: 6-8 Nov 2017 – London.


International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) now in its 20th edition, is the meeting place for the global B2B golf travel community. More than 600 golf tourism suppliers join 350 pre-qualified buyers and 100 international press for four days of unmissable pre-scheduled appointments, exclusive networking opportunities and invaluable industry and trend updates. Taking place in a different destination every year, IGTM brings together 1,400 golf tourism professionals from over 65 countries. Next event: 11-14 Dec 2017 – Cannes.


World Travel Market Latin America now in its fifth edition attracts about 9,000 unique senior executives. The event generates US$ 370 million of new business. Taking place in Sao Paulo Brazil, this show attracts a global audience to meet and shape the direction of the travel industry. More than 7,000 unique visitors attend the event to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry news. Next event: 3-5 April 2018 – Sao Paulo.


World Travel Market Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Nearly 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors. Next event: 18-20 April 2018 – Cape Town.


About Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2017 attracted almost 40,000 industry professionals, agreeing deals worth US$2.5bn over the four days. The 24th edition of ATM showcased over 2,500 exhibiting companies across 12 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre, making it the largest ATM in its 24-year history. Next event 22-25 April 2018 – Dubai.


About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events business, enhancing the power of face to face through data and digital tools at over 500 events a year, in more than 30 countries, attracting more than 7m participants.


About Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions is the world’s leading travel and tourism event’s organiser with a growing portfolio of more than 22 international travel and tourism trade events in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Our events are market leaders in their sectors, whether it is global and regional leisure travel trade events, or specialist events for meetings, incentives, conference, events (MICE) industry, business travel, luxury travel, travel technology as well as golf, spa and ski travel. We have over 35 years’ experience in organising world-leading travel exhibitions.


About Euromonitor International

Euromonitor International is the world’s leading provider for global business intelligence and strategic market analysis. We have more than 40 years of experience publishing international market reports, business reference books and online databases on consumer markets.


About the Top 100 City Destinations Ranking

For the first time ever, Euromonitor International’s highly anticipated will be presented at the World Travel Market event in London on November 7, 2017. This year’s report incorporates WTM Global Travel Trends to give further insight on how city destinations are at the forefront of tourism growth and innovation and how travel trends are borne out of the opportunities and challenges that cities face.

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World Travel Market brings the travel industry together through world leading events, content and digital tools, that make it easier for you to find personal and business opportunities and do more effective business.

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