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The Most Popular Luxury Train Tours in China

In this hot summer this year, high-end train tours are quietly emerging in China. From Urumqi to Turpan Ring Road, from Hulunbuir to Harbin, two special tourist trains are entrenched in the western and eastern parts of northern China.

On July 20, Liu Jing (pseudonym), a staff member of Harbin China Travel Service, introduced to the reporter that the most popular Hulun Buir houses are the platinum rooms of 23,999 yuan and the purple gold rooms of 26,999 yuan.

The ticket price of the New Oriental Express, which was operated earlier, was from 28,999 yuan to 51,999 yuan.

The Most Popular Luxury Train Tours in China
The Most Popular Luxury Train Tours in China

A ticket costs 20,000 to 50,000 yuan, with all-inclusive board and lodging

On July 3, the trial operation of the Hulunbuir tourist train was completed, and the first official passenger train was dispatched on the same day, which lasted 5 days and 4 nights. The reporter learned that the Hulunbuir city government provided the train, the Harbin Railway Bureau provided the lines, and Xingjing Tourism had the right to use and operate.

Earlier, on June 9, another light luxury tourist train, the New Oriental Express, was dispatched from Urumqi Station, detouring the southern and northern Xinjiang, opening a 16-day Xinjiang loop.

Different from ordinary trains, the two tourist trains are light-luxury routes, and both belong to “all-inclusive” travel products. The whole car is equipped with a double bed, desk, wardrobe, safe, independent toilet, and shower room, and provides services such as dining chairs, bars, KTV, children’s playground, etc. It also includes attractions, hotels, and catering consumption that passengers can enjoy at the destination.

According to the introduction information of Hulun Buir provided by Harbin China Travel Service, its investment-inviting brands include Shede Wine, Louis XIII, AHAVA skin care products, and Sterford bedding products.

At the same time, the number of tourists that can be carried by the two trains is small. The Hulunbuir has a total of 12 carriages and 22 rooms, with only 44 seats fully loaded. It is equipped with 20 train personnel serving 22 rooms, with a service-to-customer ratio of 1:2.2; there are 13 passenger carriages on the New Oriental Special Train, which can carry 160 people. There is about 50 service staff in total, and each accommodation car is equipped with a butler.

According to public information, the fare for the 5-day, 4-night Hulunbuir trip is divided into 3 grades of 18,999 yuan per person for the golden room, 23,999 yuan per person for the platinum room, and 26,999 yuan per person for the purple room. The price of the New Oriental Express also varies according to the standards of the carriage suite and the ground food, accommodation, travel, shopping and entertainment. The lowest price is 28,999 yuan per person and the highest is 51,999 yuan per person.

The high ticket price has discouraged many consumers. Many netizens said that “it’s too expensive“, “it’s better to travel by car”, and “I’m tempted, but my wallet is empty.”


The more expensive the room, the better

It is worth noting that despite the high ticket price, the occupancy rate of the two tourist trains is still high. Some dealers even said that “the more expensive the house type, the better it will sell.”

On July 20, Liu Jing, a staff member of Harbin China Travel Service, told the Red Star Capital Bureau that the best-selling house type was the middle-tier platinum house, followed by the more expensive Zijin house and the cheapest gold house.

The Most Popular Luxury Train Tours in China

“The difference between the three room types is similar to the three-star, four-star, and five-star hotel.” Liu Jing said, “Our customers are people who are the very pursuit of quality, mainly in their 30s and 40s with certain economic strength. In fact, people who are willing to spend more than 20,000 yuan to buy a ticket will not pay too much attention to the two or three thousand.”

According to Times Finance and Economics, Xu Wenjing, the head of the train operator, once said that the more expensive shops on the Hulunbuir tourist train sell better.

Xu Wenjing said that at present, the occupancy rate of the “Hulunbuir” that opened in early July is 80% or above, and the age distribution of the customer group is 30-55 years old, including young and middle-aged couples with children, and silver-haired people. And many of the tourists are from Zhejiang, including Hangzhou, Wenzhou, Taizhou. There are about 30 groups and more than 60 guests from Zhejiang in July and August.

The same goes for the New Orient Express. The staff of Xinjiang China Travel Service told the reporter that within half a month, the golden diamond carriages for the whole year were fully booked. The main customers are middle-aged and elderly customers in their 40s and 50s. “It takes a long time to play in Xinjiang, and young people may not have that much time.”

New Orient Express
New Orient Express

The cost of the train transformation is as high as 30 million yuan

Why is the price of travel trains so expensive? An important reason is that the cost of vehicle modification remains high.

On July 20, an insider in the industry introduced to the reporter that the New Oriental Express tourist train is a 25GAC380V body, which will be transformed into a factory in 2020. There are a total of 8 carriages with 8 capacity and 10 carriages with 28 capacity. More than 10,000 yuan/section (8 staff), more than 1.6 million yuan/section (28 staff). After marshaling, the New Oriental Express has a total of 13 carriages, and the overall renovation cost is more than 30 million yuan.

In addition, the body of the Hulunbuir is also 25GAC380V, and the transformation cost of each carriage is also more than one million yuan, but the specific figures are not convenient to disclose.

The person familiar with the matter said that this is only the cost of the transformation of the train, excluding operating costs such as employee wages.

Some tourism practitioners said that in addition to the New Oriental Express and Hulunbuir, as China’s railway resources become more and more abundant and in-depth leisure experience tours are popular, in the past two years, many tourism companies have cooperated with railway departments and local tourism bureaus to develop special tourism trains. However, the investment in building such a tourist train is relatively large, and the cost of capital and time is not low. It is not easy to create one or two trains that are truly “out of the circle”.

The popularity of high-end train travel is only a microcosm of the recovery of my country’s tourism industry. Recently, the itinerary card has picked up stars, the circuit breaker policy has been adjusted, and the entry quarantine time has been shortened… The positive signals for the tourism industry are getting stronger.

This summer, Xinjiang’s Duku Highway became a “clogging highway”. The popularity of Yunnan tours and Tibet tours continued to rise. Netizens couldn’t hold back their “wanting to go out and play”. The emerging high-end train tours took up all the time. Geographical advantage.

“Train travel is very popular abroad. Now because of the epidemic, it is more troublesome for everyone to travel abroad. Naturally, they want to play some high-end and different things in China.” Liu Jing said.

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Nancy Huang
I'm a journalist in Shenzhen, China. I have been working in several news agencies in China since 2008.


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