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Speaking at the launch, Transnet’s acting group chief executive, Tau Morwe said that The Blue Train “occupies a very special place in the hearts and minds of many in our country and around the world. Through the years, countless tourists to our beautiful country – from movie stars to presidents and prime ministers – and of course, our beloved Madiba – have all sung praises of this singular asset to our tourism industry. It is vitally important, therefore, that we enhance The Blue Train’s iconic appeal to extend its market to further reaches – and target new markets in doing so.”
The repositioning, which provides a new perspective to all marketing and sales interventions introduces this national treasure as a venue option for business use and reimagines its offering to both new and returning leisure travellers. Businesses can hire the train for private charters around Pretoria on ‘A Trip to Nowhere,’ on the Pretoria to Sun City route, on the Pretoria to Durban route, the main route which is Pretoria to Cape Town, and other destinations within South Africa’s rail network.
Vincent Monyake, The Blue Train’s executive manager in his welcome note at the launch said: “In the business of luxury, we build on heritage and legacy. The Blue Train has been a part of the South African experience for 72 years; and so, this repositioning, the first in over 20 years, is an audacious task that builds on the legacy of a national treasure, whose opulence and elegance continues to not only stand the test of time, but also challenge and push the category of luxury worldwide.”
“The repositioning was a confluence of many things: appreciating the zeitgeist of our time as captured in the experience economy, listening to our guests’ and clients’ feedback after boarding The Blue Train, and aligning internally with our operations.
“The experience economy speaks to the value intangible life experiences and people’s sense of urgency with experiencing life, and our guests have echoed that time and again, wanting the trips to take longer. Operationally, more time allows us to finesse our offering even more. So, this reimagination, ‘Surrender to the luxury of slow’ resonates with our guests and clients, and internally, gives us the opportunity to keep pushing ourselves to better our offering.”
Businesses can take advantage of the gourmet food freshly prepared onboard served in the Dining Car; the fine liquors and handmade cigars available in the Club Car; the versatile Observation Car that doubles up as a boardroom and as the dance floor for business events, and where needed, the De Luxe and Luxury Suites with all-round butler services.
Also speaking at the launch, South African Tourism’s head of global affairs, Bradley Brouwer said: “The Blue Train is an iconic expression of South African and African tourist splendour, for guests from Africa and the rest of the world, and it remains a pivotal landmark that continues to entice travellers to South Africa. Therefore, this National Treasure, along with South African Tourism and other players in tourism, carry a mandate to maintain South Africa’s prestige as a prime destination to the world, and in the process, grow our economy.”
Monyake, echoed Brouwer’s remarks on the national treasure’s place in South Africa’s tourism landscape: “As one of the flagship tourism experiences, we take this challenge to heart and we appreciate that our purpose as The Blue Train rallies in tandem with our contemporaries at SA Tourism and other national treasures that draw new audiences and compel regular travellers to return.”