Richard Leonard Richard Leonard

On the rails, off beaten track

New Zealanders are proving true to their reputation as travellers who look to get off the beaten track when it comes to rail travel, according to Richard Leonard, Rail Europe’s commercial director, Australasia.


A big turn out from the trade is expected at The Great Train Journeys Showcase in the Pullman Auckland starting 6pm tonight and some of the world’s longer, luxury journeys will be among the products highlighted. ‘New Zealand is home to some of the word’s most beautiful rail journeys, so that has given Kiwis a good introduction to other such journeys around the world. They are embracing this sort of travel experience without doubt. ‘Our Great Train Journeys portfolio continues to grow in size and popularity among Kiwis.’ He says these trips are like cruising on wheels. ‘You unpack once and enjoy the experience – the scenery, fine dining, great off-train tours and the social aspect of the travel. ‘New Zealanders are experienced and curious travellers – we are getting more enquiries and bookings on lesser known journeys such as the Deccan Odyssey in India, Alaskan Rail in the United States and the Caspian Odyssey in the Caspian region. ‘At the same time, New Zealand bookings on The Ghan and Indian Pacific in Australia are at an all time high and continuing to surge.’


Agents attending tonight will meet key suppliers from train journeys around Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the Americas, as well as hearing the latest news and product updates and gaining important sales tips. Representatives from Belmond, Via Rail, Rocky Mountaineer, Great Southern Rail (GSR), Great Journeys of NZ, Great Train Tour of Switzerland, Golden Eagle, Blue Train, PeruRail and Switzerland Tourism will be among the suppliers on hand. The grand prize tonight will be a 13- day, 12-night holiday on the Ultimate Grand Train Tour of Switzerland. There will also be lucky draw prizes from The Blue Train, Journey Beyond and Golden Eagle.