The new pass is aimed at tourists not residing in Spain and enables them to travel around the peninsular by train with greater flexibility and at a lower price. The goal is "to promote tourism via our network of railway transport infrastructures", said the Minister for Public Works.
In her speech, Ana Pastor recalled that more than 50 million tourists come to Spain from abroad every year and that Spain received close to 14 million international tourists in the first four months of 2012 alone.
She went on to say that one of the key elements for the development of tourism is to therefore have a suitable network of infrastructures: airports, seaports, roads and railways.
In this regard, she referred to the role being played by the AVE [Spain's high-speed railway system] as a 'promoter of tourism', which was strengthened on Wednesday with the signing of this agreement and the launch of the new RENFE Spain Pass.
The new pass enables a number of flexible rail journeys (between 4 and 12) at a set price. The goal is to attract part of the large market of international tourists who come to Spain without a car; a total of 35.9 million every year.
Potential customers for the RENFE Spain Pass are therefore travellers from the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, the United States, Japan, China, Russia or Argentina who spend an average of six days in Spain and visit the main destinations on the Network of AVE Cities: Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Seville or Malaga, among others.
Under this agreement, Turespaña, RENFE and the Network of AVE Cities will work together on various marketing campaigns to improve the position of the destinations that comprise this network and their train links throughout 2012 and 2013.
The actions they intend to carry out together include collaboration on market research (exchange of informative content and material, training activities and technical capacity-building for the staff of these organisations), attendance at international trade fairs and the organisation of promotional activities with travel agents, tour operators, the media and end consumers both in Spain and in their home markets.
Travel on all RENFE trains using a single pass
The RENFE Spain Pass consists of a pass that enables between 4 and 12 journeys to be made on AVE (high-speed), AVLD (high-speed long-distance) and Media Distancia (intercity) trains. They are sold at a set price and can be used for a period of one month.
Customers can purchase these rail passes on the Internet, from travel agents and at railway stations (in Spain and abroad) up to six months in advance of their use and they enable each chosen train journey to be reserved via various channels. The pass includes additional products provided by the Network of AVE Cities, such as museum tickets, discounts off other products and city cards.
The system offers enormous flexibility to travellers as they are not required to state their journeys in advance nor set the number of days they wish to travel around Spain. It is therefore a convenient and functional product as the pass can be obtained from as many sales channels as any standard AVE ticket and the customer can choose from a number of channels when deciding to book each journey without the need to wait in ticket queues and at no additional cost.
It should be noted that the Spanish rail network comprises a total of 19,000 kilometres of railway, 2,900 kilometres of high-speed railway currently in service, 2,200 kilometres of suburban railway and 11,000 kilometres of conventional railway.