RIYADH: Travelers will have access to a luxury train service in the UAE after national railway network operator Etihad Rail partnered with Italian hospitality firm Arsenale Group in a move to boost tourism and showcase the country’s heritage and scenic attractions.
The firms signed a memorandum of understanding during the two-day Middle East Rail Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi to roll out the 15-carriage transit option that will travel throughout the UAE toward the border with Oman.
The project will see the Italian company completely refurbishing carriages in specialized factories located in Puglia and Sicily, Italy.
The UAE will be among the first countries in the world to have a luxury cruise service with a fully customized train, Arsenale Group said in a press statement.
“By establishing a luxury train experience, we are introducing a unique world-class offering to the region and contributing to boosting the tourism sector in the UAE. Furthermore, we will be able to showcase the country’s diverse heritage and beauty to visitors from around the world,” Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail said..
There are plans to extend the service to the wider Gulf Cooperation Council region once the railway project becomes operational.
This is Arsenale’s second project in the region after it signed an MoU with Saudi Arabia Railways in March to launch the Middle East’s first luxury train service in the Kingdom.
A part of the project “Dream of the Desert,” the deal involves bringing a train with 40 luxury cabins on Saudi railways by 2025 that will pass through the country from Riyadh to Qurayyat.
“The railway cruise is the present and the future of tourism, and Arsenale wants to make it available in the most beautiful places in the world, introducing this new fascinating and sustainable way of traveling. This partnership demonstrates that there are no limits to passion and no barriers that can stop the desire to go beyond the imaginary,” said Paolo Barletta, CEO of Arsenale.
During the conference, Etihad Rail signed a total of seven agreements to advance rail passenger and freight development.