Yankee Leisure Group and its Amtrak Vacations brand opened an office in Sydney to help meet growing demand for North American train travel from Down Under.

It's just the second foreign office for Yankee after the U.K.

Australia is the second-largest inbound market for Amtrak Vacations behind the U.K., said Yankee president Frank Marini.

Marini said that while the company has been working with agents in Australia for years, it was time to provide Australian traveler-specific websites as well as local support for agents.

The newest office opens as Yankee Leisure Group logs its sixth year of double-digit growth and its best year ever, Marini said. "Rail is the new river cruising," he said. 

Besides Canada, the U.S., U.K. and Australia, Marini said Amtrak Vacations is starting to see growing interest from other parts of Europe and South America.

Why such high interest from Australia?

"The Australians are phenomenal travelers and the length they take for their holidays and vacation is a few weeks at a time," Marini said. "We might be one of a few components. They may be taking a train trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco to Seattle. Then maybe an Alaskan cruise."

According to the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, of the 10.5 million Australians who traveled overseas in 2017, 1 million went  to the United States and 632,000 visited Europe.

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