High Speed Rail: Catalysts for Integrating Touristic Markets in Europe
Manuel Margarido Tao, Universidade Do Algarve
This paper aims at establishing an ex-ante and ex-post comparison of Tourist patterns of newly-served cities by High Speed Rail services, on the basis of existing National Travel and Tourism surveys.
The development of a European-wide Transeuropean High Speed Rail network, connected to a number of major airports has been more or less continuous, from the early nineties of the twentieth century to the present day. Stimulated by the European Commission, under an Infrastructure Master Plan drawn by 1991 (later reinforced by the 2003 Van Miert Report), new HS Lines and their rail services have been responsible for significant reductions in generalized cost on many interurban relations as well as distributing traffic from major airport hubs over increasingly enlarged "hinterlands".
The interaction between individuals and space enabled by High Speed Rail is well summarized by Whitelegg (1993), as revamped land transport "being able to gain space by destroying time”, whereas the pioneering work of Bonnafous (1987), based on an ex-ante/ex-post analysis showed how new travel patterns changed over the Paris-Lyon corridor, following the introduction of TGV-PSE services, after 1981.
Delaplace´s et al. modelling approach (2014), suggests that willingness to visit a certain city increases, if it is served by High Speed Rail services. Expectedly, impacts on Tourism, may be significant on a number of cities served by the new fast rail services, with an increased number of visits, stays and social venues resulting from the increased accessibility. Moreno (2006), states that since its opening in 1992, the Madrid-Sevilla AVE services had a decisive contribute towards enhancement of tourism in the Andalosian capital: an increase of berth capacity from 12.000 to 20.000, and a growth of congresses, from 300 to over 1000 yearly. In the same period, the neighbor city and World Heritage Site of Cordoba (also served by the same HS Line) saw its visitors increase from 332809 (1991) to nearly 700.000, fifteen years later (Ardilla, 2006).
Delaplace (2012) states that “High Speed Rail Services modifies the link between tourists and distance because a decrease in travelling time can be analyzed as a decrease of distance”. Hence, competition and utility between destinations is affected (Mason and Petiot, 2009). Dimension and nature of potential destinations served by High Speed Rail Services may reinforce a phenomena of agglomeration, which may nevertheless be rebalanced by specific factors of differentiation (Mason and Petiot, 2009).
This paper aims at establishing an ex-ante and ex-post comparison of Tourist patterns of newly-served cities by High Speed Rail services, on the basis of existing National Travel and Tourism surveys. And therefore to determine the extent to which the network of HS services has been more or less successful in integrating what were known as separate urban areas and their specific attributes into a single touristic market with gains of scale.
Association for European Transport