Is rail the future of travel?

Is rail the future of travel?With the inevitable peak oil disaster being a tell-all on our planet’s reliance on antiquated energy sources, the travel industry is scrambling to find a viable means to secure its longevity in the trying times to come.

With the inevitable peak oil disaster being a tell-all on our planet’s reliance on antiquated energy sources, the travel industry is scrambling to find a viable means to secure its longevity in the trying times to come.

Notably, the most oil-reliant aspect of the travel industry is air travel; projected to comprise roughly 4% of total man-made carbon emissions in the world by 2012.

Obviously, air travel holds some room for improvement – not to mention the various other aspects of travel, including lodging, transportation and economics – as it represents the vast majority of travel means for most travelers (business and leisure).

Add to this the consistently-fragile state of affairs for the airline businesses (labor issues, increasing fees, rampant profit loss/bankruptices), increasing road congestion, delays and rising fuel costs, and travelers are quickly moving toward rail as their travel means of choice.

According to International Rail, more and more travelers are opting for train trips throughout Europe, Asia and North America – resulting in a net worth of $208 billion for the global rail industry – as an increase in investment has allowed for shortened trip times and more high-speed, modern trains.

“Even though we are in difficult economic times in the developed markets of Europe and the U.S., rail travel is a resilient sector and continues to grow in popularity,” said Rod Maton, Chairman of International Rail Ltd.

The global increase in rail travel coincides with the boom in international tourism, which grew by almost five percent in the first half of 2011, totalling a new record of 440 million arrivals – 19 million more than the same period for 2010, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

“At International Rail Ltd this year we have been able to offer the travel trade, our corporate partners and the consumer much more access to many of the railway systems across the world and we know that having access to timetables, the ability to book instantly and having the security of your rail booking before travel are all major selling points,” said Maton.

“With this type of information now available for Korea, Russia and Vietnam to name a few, rail travel can now be easily considered and booked here in the UK,” he added, noting further that “the growth in bookings reflects the fact that more of us are travelling and also that the easier it gets to book, the more customers will book.”

Article taken from Terracurve. Read original version here.

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