High speed rail and coastal tourism: Identifying passenger profiles and travel behaviour

PLoS One. 2017 Jun 23;12(6):e0179682. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179682. eCollection 2017.


In this paper, we characterise tourists most likely to visit a coastal destination by high-speed rail (HSR). Our data came from a survey conducted among HSR passengers during 2014's high season (July and August) at Spain's Camp de Tarragona and Alicante Stations, each of which is near a mass tourism destination on the Mediterranean coast: the Costa Daurada and the Costa Blanca, respectively. We used responses to the survey, which presented binary discrete-choice situations, to construct a database necessary for a logistic regression model that allowed us to examine how passenger profile, trip characteristics, and stay conditions influenced the use of HSR services on visits to each coastal destination. Results highlighted significant differences in the profiles of tourists who arrived at each destination by HSR and, in turn, that no specific tourist profile is associated with HSR, even for two stations that serve sunny beach destinations. Among its implications, to analyse travellers that HSR can attract, it is vital to consider the specific characteristics of each destination and its current market.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavior
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Middle Aged
  • Railroads*
  • Spain
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Travel*
  • Young Adult

Grant support

This research was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (GLOBALTUR–CSO2011–23004/GEOG; MOVETUR-CS02014-51785-R) to AG.