France will once again be included in the Eurail Select Pass as SNCF confirmed it will return to the popular rail product from April 1.
The French rail operator's withdrawal from the Eurail pass left it with a “gaping hole”, according to Rail Europe chief executive Fabrice Morel.
As a result, Eurail sales tumbled 20% last year, although that decline was also partly the result of the rising popularity of point to point bookings, Morel revealed.
Rail Plus General Manager Sales & Marketing Greg McCallum described SNCF's Eurail return as welcome news for Australasian travellers.
“France is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to Europe, and as a result its withdrawal from the Eurail Select Pass in 2013 impacted the product’s popularity in the Australian and New Zealand markets,” he said.
“With France now participating, I have no doubt agents will embrace the Eurail Select Pass, helping it quickly reclaim its position as one of Rail Plus’ most popular rail products.”
The announcement coincides with the “simplification” of the Eurail Select Passes. Now a single pass will offer unlimited travel through four adjoining countries, with the existing three and five-country passes to be discontinued on March 31.
However, current prices and pass validity of five, six, eight or 10 days of travel within two months will remain.