Tourist railways and historic trains is now a worldwide phenomenon with different forms and methods, joined by elements of economic, environmental and social sustainability. The tourist interest has been amplified by two ‘multiplier’ factors in line with market trends: ‘train travel’ as an “experience” and the “experience” to be enjoyed along the route or at the destinations (i.e. excursions, meetings, activities, workshops, events, stories). The intention is to demonstrate that the goal for a tourist destination that operates tourist trains is to achieve a coherent offer capable of integrating these two "multipliers". In 2020 (declared ‘Tourist Train Year’ in Italy), railway mobility is now perceived as an important tourism asset. And the revival of the tourism industry (within the broader framework of the international economy) will have to take this into account, after the current crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The demand connected to tourist railways is growing strongly both in the countries with the longest tradition and in Italy, where, in the last two years, there have been significant numbers of passengers, turnover and related activities being developed. Even in Puglia,where tourist railway lines are not currently active, their enormous potential could be exploited due to their unique characteristics that are distinguishable from the existing local historical railways that spread throughout the territory and by the wide cultural heritage, by the synergy with the paths, the cycle routes and the paths for trekking and horse riding. This paper identifies some strategic nodes related to programming activities; the business model and management choices, the planning of territorial marketing, the creation and development of attractions and enhanced itineraries, events, paths, characterized by themes and passions. The investment in this new form of tourism will be useful to the community and easily pay back the ‘start-up’ and operating costs. Starting from the existing cultural heritage (composite, widespread and fragmented) with low levels of accessibility, the process towards the desired objectives and impacts is defined.
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