Tourists boost Eurostar numbers

EurostarAn increase in leisure passengers on Channel Tunnel high-speed Eurostar trains helped make up for a dip in the business market in the first half of 2012.

The tourist traffic rise meant that Eurostar carried 4.8 million passengers in the first six months of this year - up 2% on the January-June 2011 total.
Sales revenue for the first half of 2012 rose 1% to £425 million.

The number of passengers originating outside Europe grew 11% in the first half of 2012 compared with last year.

This was driven in part by a strong increase in the number of passengers originating from the USA and the Far East.

Eurostar operates 186mph trains from London's St Pancras station to Paris and Brussels.

The company's chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: "We have delivered a resilient performance in the first half of the year despite the difficult economic climate. Leisure bookings have continued to grow and we have seen good take-up for travel to London over the summer period.

"During the Queen's Jubilee we had one of our busiest weekends on record and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors from across Europe to enjoy all the attractions that London has to offer for the Olympic Games."

He went on: "While leisure sales have held up over the last six months, there is no doubt that corporate clients and business travellers, particularly in the financial services industry, are feeling the squeeze and are cutting back on their travel budgets as they adapt to the economic environment.

"The combination of economic pressures and the London 2012 Games has meant that we are seeing different travel patterns this year. The traditional European summer close-down for business is kicking in earlier as all eyes turn to the Olympic celebrations in London."

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