With one year to go before the relocation of the Eurostar international rail terminal from Waterloo to St Pancras International in autumn 2007, significant benefits for local business and tourism are predicted for the King’s Cross area by the move. All Change Please?, a report commissioned by the London Development Agency in association with Central London Partnership, examines the tourism implications of the new terminal and shows that:
* There will be 9 million passenger trips on Eurostar by 2008/9, an increase of 1.5 million on current figures. 43% of passengers will be visitors from overseas; 19% of the total will be business travellers; and 85% will be staying in the UK for more than one night.
* There will be a significantly-increased demand for accommodation in the area with a potential need locally for one million bed nights a year.
With the aim of informing and engaging the local business community, Central London Partnership and the King’s Cross Business Forum, which is supported by the London Borough of Camden and the London Development Agency, are tonight hosting an event which will explore the opportunities presented by both the Eurostar move and the wider King’s Cross development. It will be attended by property developers, hoteliers, transport specialists, retailers and creative enterprises, as well as representatives from the Greater London Authority and Visit London.
Peter Bishop, Director of Culture and Environment at the London Borough of Camden, said: ‘There are many exciting challenges and opportunities ahead for new and existing businesses in the King’s Cross area. With a new community in the making, the full potential of the business benefits can only be realised by the involvement and energy of all those involved. By defining a collective vision for the area we can transform King’s Cross into a world-class visitor and business destination.’ Patricia Brown, Chief Executive of Central London Partnership, commented: ‘King’s Cross is on the brink of becoming one of Europe’s most exciting areas in which to live, work or visit. The new rail terminal is next to the 67-acre major regeneration project, King’s Cross Central, which will give an unprecedented boost to the local visitor economies of King’s Cross/St Pancras and will ensure that the area develops in its own right as a major international gateway for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.’
Carolyn Smith, Head of Tourism and Visitor Economy at the London Development Agency, added: ‘The All Change Please? report identifies the great opportunities that the new terminal and the King’s Cross Central development will have for King’s Cross and for London as a whole. It reflects the importance that the LDA has placed on the King’s Cross/Finsbury Park area as one of nine priority areas in London. As such the LDA has allocated approx £11.9 million of funding through the Kings Cross-Finsbury Park Area Programme in the last five years, providing real benefits to local people and local businesses.’
The opening of the second section of the new UK high-speed rail line, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), at St Pancras International in 2007 will further reduce Eurostar journey times. The London-Paris trip will reduce by 20 minutes to 2 hours 15 minutes and the London-Brussels journey will be shortened by 24 minutes to 1 hour 51 minutes.