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More Indians are buying European train tickets! India becomes Europe’s second largest market by rail for the first time in 90 years

India is now the second largest market Rail Europe, Despite delays and deadlock in visa appointments, a large number of Indians traveled to popular European destinations like London, Switzerland, France and Italy last year.
Björn Bender, President and CEO of Rail Europe, revealed in an interview with ET that India emerged as the second largest market for the company in 2023, a significant milestone in its 90-year history. The United States remained its primary market.
According to Björn Bender, India is set to become the second-largest market for the company in 2023, surpassing countries like China and Japan.
Rail Europe, a leading rail-ticketing company, sold nearly 5 million train tickets worldwide to European destinations last year, of which half a million tickets were sold in India. This represents a significant increase of 60% in the company’s global revenue.
Bender acknowledged that India was always one of the top markets for Rail Europe, but now it has dropped to second place. He attributed this success to the Indian market’s quick recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic compared to other countries. Rail Europe is committed to further expanding its presence in India by investing in local teams and travel agents.
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With partnerships with leading Indian travel companies like MakeMyTrip, Thomas Cook and Swisstours, Rail Europe claims to have established itself as the preferred brand for European train bookings. The company offers a wide range of products, cooperating with over 200 rail providers and offering rail passes such as the Swiss Travel Pass and the Eurail Pass. The rail providers in the catalog include SNCF, SBB, Eurostar, Trenitalia, Italo, DB, Renfe, ÖBB, SNCB, NS, OUIGO Spain and National Rail.
Bender expressed optimism about the growth prospects in India and expected a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of at least 20% in the coming years. He stressed that the European rail industry is worth 70 billion euros annually, with a significant portion of tickets sold outside Europe. Rail Europe aims to maintain its market share in non-European markets and take advantage of growing demand from countries such as India.
Bender also highlighted the efforts made by countries like Switzerland to facilitate visa processes for Indian travelers. He mentioned that Switzerland, along with London, France and Italy, remains the most sought-after destination for Indian travelers who prefer train travel.

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