Eurostar has reported that the signs of recovery in the trading environment at the end of last year have continued into 2017.
After a surge in late bookings towards the end of 2016, the business reported its busiest December ever and a strong start to the year.
Sales revenues for the first ten weeks of the year are up by 12 per cent and the markets outside Europe are performing well.
This follows a challenging 2016 in which passenger numbers were down four per cent – to 10 million in 2016 from 10.4 million the year before) in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Europe.
Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive, Eurostar, said: “Despite the difficult trading environment last year, we continued to make major investments in new trains, our stations and our overall service.
“With the return of travellers from the US and business travel on the increase, the market is now rebounding strongly and we are optimistic about the growth prospects for the year.”
Since the start of this year the number of US travellers increased by 17 per cent compared with the same period last year as Eurostar reported a resurgence in demand from the US.
This trend was mirrored in the booking patterns of all passengers originating outside Europe where the volume of travellers for the first ten weeks of 2017 has grown by 18 per cent year-on-year - an increase which is testament to the enduring popularity of the Eurostar service and its destinations.
The business market is also reporting positive growth this year, particularly in the UK where the number of business travellers in the first 10 weeks of 2017 versus 2016 was up by four per cent.