Our President and CEO, Frédéric Langlois, contributes monthly to our High Speed Rail News blog series. Sharing his passion for travel and high-speed rail of which he is considered an expert. With over 17 years in the industry, Langlois sits on the Advisory Boards of the German National Tourist Office, the French National Tourist Office and hotel giant Accor. In addition, he has appeared on cable news discussing the future of high-speed trains in the United States.
Italy and the United Kingdom are always ranked amongst the top 5 destinations for our travelers. I expect this trend to continue into 2012, due in part to the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee being celebrated in the UK and some exciting new rail developments in Italy!
With the Queen celebrating 60 years on the throne this year, travelers to the UK won’t be disappointed in 2012 with the choices of new royal themed events and exhibits centered around the Diamond Jubilee. In fact, on my next trip, I plan to visit the David Hockney Exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
Travelers to the UK can map out their trip in advance, decide what towns and cities they want to visit and purchase their rail in advance as e-tickets. Personally I prefer to book e-tickets as they allow me to plan well in advance but still make changes to my trip while I am on the go. With such a wide range of affordable fares it is a great way to travel and explore the best of British cities and also enjoy the English countryside. In addition, in 2012, travelers will be able to book UK products including e-tickets on our mobile site and iPhone app.
This spring, travelers to Italy will have many more choices when it comes to choosing which high-speed train they will take. More choices on more trains can also mean a wider range of ticket prices, which is always good news! This is all is due to a new private railroad offering additional train services between the popular Italian cities of Milan, Turin, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Rome & Salerno.
Up until now, travelers in Italy could only use the high-speed rail services offered by Trenitalia – the government owned & operated railroad. But with the launch of a new train service from the privately owned Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV) – Italy’s first private railroad, things are about to change and choices for travelers are about to get wider!
The Trenitalia high-speed trains go by the names of Frecciarosa and Frecciargento. While the NTV trains are called Italo. All trains offer economy, business & first class service on their rail connections and business and first class travelers can avail of the creature comforts we have come to expect on board a train, such as spacious reclining seats, meals served at seats and wifi on board. The italo trains even have a cinema carriage!
If a trip to Europe is on your bucket list, I would encourage you to consider taking high-speed train journeys in Italy or board a train in the UK and travel between royal exhibits or sports events.
One of the favorite ways to get around London is the pay-as-you-go Oyster card. Get one before you head over, as it offers a value for money way to travel, giving access to the tube or a bus to all the city zones. Depending on when you travel, you can use your Oyster Card to visit the city’s new royal exhibits or catch some of the great sporting events scheduled for July.