While we recently shared with you the optimism felt over at Rail Europe, it appears the company is not alone. The Eurail Group G.I.E. reports a modest drop in Eurail Pass passengers in 2009, caused by the global economic downturn, but foresees signs of a full recovery in the coming years. More than 382,000 customers traveled with a Eurail Pass on European trains in 2009— 11.9 percent less than last year. Pass revenues are currently close to $134 million.
North America remains the leading market (50 percent of the market share) for Eurail, followed by the Asia-Pacific region (38 percent), where the biggest growth is expected in the coming years. While the United States as well as South Korea are heavily impacted by their weak economies and currencies, key markets like Japan, Australia, Brazil and China are still showing considerable growth. In order to stimulate the growth in South Korea the Eurail Group intends to implement specific activities towards students/youths who represent 48 percent of this particular market.
"Our traditional markets of North America and South Korea did not perform as well as expected but we have seen growth in Asia and South America and we are now experiencing positive signs of the overall market recovering and growing again," says Rene de Groot, the Eurail Group's managing director.
Travel surveys show that over 35 percent of Eurail Pass travelers customers still wish to discover as much of Europe as possible and choose the Select Pass, covering travel to three to five bordering countries. About 20 percent favor the classic Eurail Global Pass (covering 21 countries). A whopping 45 percent of Eurail travelers select the One Country Pass and Regional Pass which have become important product lines for the Eurail Group, thus reflecting the market trend of passengers who favor shorter trips to fewer destinations.