European rail pass seller Eurail is to launch a marketing campaign in India as it tries to boost the appeal of its services in Asia.

The group, which sells international rail passes that are popular with tourists seeking to explore Europe by rail, will also launch Japanese and Korean versions of its website on April 13.

Eurail says that it intends to pay more attention to the development and expansion of its business in India, a rapidly growing market that the company describes as "unexplored."

At the same time, it will seek to broaden its appeal in China, Japan and South Korea. The latter two already represent two of the top five markets for Eurail passes (35,000 South Koreans and 23,000 Japanese discovered Europe by rail in 2009), and account for over a third of traffic to the Eurail website, said marketing director Ana Dias e Seixas.

Visitors from Asia Pacific are expected to show the fastest growth in European rail tourism in the coming years - the area accounted for 38 percent of rail passes sold in 2009. Last year, a total of 382,000 tourists travelled with a Eurail pass on European trains. The passes start at $499 (€367) for a 15 day pass.

Operators are keen to get people travelling again to Europe, which has been hit hard by the economic slowdown. Asia is seen as one of the most likely areas for new growth, with China reporting a growth of 4 percent in outbound tourists in 2009 in spite of the downturn. Indian tourism to Europe was extremely weak in 2009 however, according to the European Travel Commission.

http://www.eurail.com

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