The European Travel Commission (ETC) and Eurail honoured recipients at the first ever Best European Rail Tourism Campaign Awards on February 2nd at a ceremony hosted by Switzerland Tourism. The awards, which began in 2021, honour the most effective marketing campaigns that promoted rail travel as a sustainable tourism model across Europe. This new effort aims to highlight rail throughout the European Year of Rail (EYR) 2021, encourage people, travellers, and enterprises to use rail, and contribute to the EU Green Deal goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.
National and municipal tourism administrations, rail organisations, marketing agencies, and other enterprises with major operations in the European tourism sector submitted entries to ETC and Eurail. An expert jury composed of specialists from the tourism, rail, and marketing industries chose the winners and runners-up.
The awards ceremony took place in Engelberg, Switzerland, during the ETC’s Annual Meeting. The event brings together national tourist research and marketing directors from around Europe, providing an outstanding venue for the exchange of the latest tourism trends, knowledge, and best practises. The focus of this year’s meeting was on defining a strategic ETC agenda for 2030, thinking on how the organisation might help to a sustainable tourism transition in Europe.
“As travellers seek more sustainable modes of transport, it is imperative that Europe showcases its rail offers,” said Lus Arajo, President of the European Travel Commission. “ETC is proud of the work undertaken by travel and tourism sectors to promote rail tourism as both an environmentally friendly and desirable way to travel.”
“The award winners have done an outstanding job in promoting rail travel as a unique and sustainable travel experience. The creative campaigns will surely inspire travellers from around the world to go one step further and explore Europe by train.” stated Carlo Boselli, General Manager of Eurail.
ETC and Eurail confirmed at Friday night’s award event that the awards will be held again in 2022, with specifics to be released later.
The WunderlineGO app has been voted the Best New Promotional Initiative for 2021.
For their WunderlineGO app, Ostfriesland Tourismus GmbH and the Provincie of Groningen were awarded the Best New Promotional Initiative EYR 2021. The Wunderline, an upgraded train connection between the Northern Netherlands and Northern Germany, was the focus of the revolutionary software.
The WunderlineGO app integrates mobility, public transportation, and sustainability to make it easier for visitors to discover and enjoy the Netherlands and Germany. The app not only promotes the train as a sustainable mode of transportation, but it also highlights the stops along the route as attractive tourist spots and encourages visitors to explore the area.
The app’s capacity to promote a local train line while simultaneously encouraging visitors to visit lesser-known places in the vicinity delighted the jury.
Ideme Vlakom, the internet star, wins the award for Best Completed Rail Tourism Promotion.
The Slovak Republic’s railways, eleznicná spolocnost Slovensko a.s. (ZSSK), received the prize for Best Completed Rail Tourism.
We Go by Train is a promotion promoting the company’s marketing (Ideme Vlakom). A catchy song that employed humour to depict the benefits and realities of rail travel in Slovakia was at the heart of the advertising campaign. The campaign was created to promote ZSSK’s rebranding while also raising awareness of the company’s efforts to improve train travel across the country.
The song quickly became the second most popular video on Slovak YouTube when the campaign began. Because of its viral success, railway transportation has become a hot topic in the United States. The campaign’s main goal was to persuade Slovakians that rail travel can be a relaxed experience filled with adventures, nice food, and excellent service.
The judges commended ZSSK for successfully transforming attitudes around train travel by leveraging the campaign to establish a movement that reached the Slovakian public’s consciousness.
Campaigns aimed towards youth pique the jury’s interest.
The jury was tasked with identifying active efforts, or campaigns still in the planning stages, that showed tremendous promise for the Most Promising Campaigns category. The jury were most struck by two submissions, both of which were meant to motivate children to love rail and promote long-term sustainable travel practises.
For its Impact Challenge campaign, KILROY, a Nordic travel firm that specialised in tailoring personalised travel experiences for young travellers, got the award. The Impact Challenge is a slow-paced race for the curious, adventurous, and everyday traveller. The challenge has 12 teams journey by rail through uncharted territory in Europe, earning points as they go in the hopes of winning the top prize at the finish line. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea was born as a fresh and different way to travel in a new world, generating a movement of impactful travellers in the process. The judges was particularly taken by the campaign’s competition nature, as well as its ability to capture the imaginations of young travellers all around Europe.
For its Eco Wanderer campaign, Europe’s Famous Hostels, an association of independent hostels across Europe and Israel, won the second Most Promising Campaign award. The novel campaign, set to debut in 2022, promotes a loyalty programme and reward system based on a CO2 emissions savings calculator that translates savings from rail users into points redeemable at the association’s hostels around Europe.
The campaign’s goal is to raise awareness of sustainable businesses while also educating, inspiring, and rewarding beneficial behaviours toward sustainability. The judges commended Europe’s Famous Hostels for creating a campaign that could lead to long-term behavioural change and the development of a generation of environmentally conscious travellers.