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Business is about to boom even louder for Rail Europe. The largest distributor of European rail products — representing more than 50 European train companies — has acquired full ownership of Rail Plus, the leading international rail specialist for Australasia. At the same time, Rail Europe is also solidifying a presence in China, as well as strengthening its global status as a one-stop shop for American travelers looking to plan and book a European rail journey.
“We have expanded our offerings in a way that makes Europe very interesting for travel agents,” said Zine Belhonchet, chief financial officer of Rail Europe, the overseas business unit of VSC Group, and CEO and president of Rail Europe, Inc., the legal entity of Rail Europe in North America. “The potential for growth is great.”
Since 1998, Rail Europe had owned half of Rail Plus. Now, with full ownership, the company aims to improve its relationship with the local trade in Australia and New Zealand, as well as benefit from Rail Plus’ experience in the distribution of rail in Australasia, which is Rail Europe’s second-largest market.
Rail Europe is also setting its sights on Asia, its third-largest market, and growing its business in China. This year, the company opened its first office in Shanghai, which Belhonchet says will establish a local presence for the company that will improve relationships with local players in China’s travel and trade industry.
Additionally, the company is developing an international project it calls “Follow the Sun” that will provide 24/7 coverage and service to all of Rail Europe’s customers around the world.
With its acquisition and expansion, Belhonchet says Rail Europe is very optimistic about the future.
“We are reinforcing our global presence,” he said. “We want to make our global strategy make sense for local customers. Providing the best customer service — bringing something more — that’s what going to allow us to be the leader.”
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