Woman waiting for regional train at train station, Germany

European Travel Commission and Eurail launch award to recognise the Best Rail Tourism Campaigns as part of 2021 European Year of Rail

  • ETC and Eurail are encouraging travel operators to get creative and promote rail tourism as a clean, healthy form of transport across the EU
  • Marketing campaigns will play a huge role in supporting the objectives of EYR 2021, with the award encouraging dialogue between rail and tourism sectors, promoting cooperation towards a more sustainable tourism model
  • Awards are open to all organisations in the European tourism and transportation sectors with winners announced in November 2021

The European Travel Commission (ETC) and Eurail have today launched an exciting joint award competition for the Best European Rail Tourism Campaign 2021 as part of the ‘2021 European Year of Rail’ (EYR), which kicked off on 1 January 2021. The award will be given to the marketing campaigns this year that best promote rail travel as a sustainable tourism model throughout the EU.

The initiative joins a variety of creative activities that will put rail firmly in the spotlight throughout 2021 EYR, to encourage the use of rail by citizens, travellers and businesses and to contribute to the EU Green Deal goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2050.

Travellers are becoming increasingly experienced and conscious of their environmental footsteps and are seeking ways to reduce their CO2 footprint, while still making new, unique, and meaningful experiences. This is where rail tourism can play its part providing a sustainable and eco-friendly mobility solution. In the EU, rail is responsible for less than 0.5% of transport-related greenhouse gas emissions, making it one of the greenest forms of passenger transport. Despite these advantages, only about 10% of European residents[1] choose rail as the main mode of transport for holidays or business travel in 2018. One way to increase this share is to make tourists more aware of the many benefits of rail travel, from the comfort on board and generous luggage allowance to the convenience of arriving right at the heart of their destinations.

Simultaneously, reuniting train travel and tourism will help to improve the management of tourist flows across Europe, reducing pressure on popular hotspots and promoting places outside busy tourism routes, while supporting the rejuvenation of rural areas and remote regions. Slow travel by rail will also allow tourists to engage more will local communities and promote an awareness of a common European identity along the way.

Speaking following the launch of the awards, ETC Executive Director Eduardo Santander said:

“The 2021 European Year of Rail is a unique chance to put trail travel back in the limelight. Train travel connects Europeans and allows our foreign guests to get off the beaten track and to know the real face of Europe. ETC is delighted to be launching this important award in partnership with Eurail as we work together to reunite rail travel and tourism to boost sustainable recovery in the aftermath of COVID-19. We are encouraging all tourism and rail stakeholders in Europe to “Hop On” and get creative with new promotional initiatives throughout the EYR 2021

Carlo Boselli, General Manager of Eurail: 

I’m very proud to launch this rail travel award in partnership with ETC, even more so in such a challenging time for the tourism industry. About one year after the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill, this award is aimed at celebrating and bringing to public attention the essential role of rail as an enabler for sustainable mobility, and incentivise post-COVID-19 train travel as a high-value tourism model throughout Europe

The awards are open to national tourism and destination marketing organisations, rail providers and other entities with significant operations in the European tourism sector. The following actions are examples of possible promotional activities:

  • Content and Email Marketing
  • Native advertising and Social media
  • Referral and Influencer marketing
  • Programmatic display
  • Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

Winners will be selected by an independent jury of experts from the fields of rail and tourism, and will receive the title of ‘Best Rail Tourism Campaign 2021’ as well as an accredited digital seal, certificate, and plaque.

For those interested in participating, a dedicated landing page on ETC’s corporate website has been developed with further information on how to get involved.

[1] https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/tourism/data/database