Eurostar has reported continued growth in both passenger numbers and sales revenues during the third quarter of 2013.
Compared to the same period in 2012, sales revenues grew by ten per cent to £207 million, while passenger numbers rose five per cent to 2.7 million.
The performance for the quarter comes amid increasing signs that the economic recovery is beginning to take hold in the UK.
Within this context, Eurostar reports gathering momentum to the recovery in the business travel market reported in recent periods.
Not withstanding the traditional summer business ‘shut-down’, sales revenues generated from business travellers during the third quarter grew by 14 per cent year-on year.
Even when taking into account the reduction in passenger traffic to London around the time of the 2012 Olympic Games, this is a strong result.
Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive, Eurostar, said: “Business traveller volumes have been growing steadily for several months and this quarter’s performance continues that encouraging trend.
“As a bell-weather for the health of the wider UK economy, the growing strength of the corporate travel market gives us confidence in the business outlook to the year end.”
Over the same period the leisure travel market has proved similarly robust with sales revenues up nine per cent year-on-year.
Contributing to the uplift in leisure sales revenues has been the success this year of Eurostar’s new ‘Route du Soleil’ service direct to Provence.
The new route, a trial which operated for eight weeks earlier in the summer, has had a positive impact on travellers’ perceptions of connecting travel with Eurostar and TGV services to and from the French regions.
Overall connecting traffic to the Lyon, Avignon and Aix-en-Provence region is up by 31 per cent for the year-to-date versus the same period last year as awareness has grown amongst travellers of the possibilities of high-speed rail travel to and from London.
The international travel market, comprising of passengers originating beyond Eurostar’s core European destinations, has demonstrated particularly strong growth with tickets sold during the quarter up 13 per cent year-on-year.
The halo effect of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has seen a boom in international travellers choosing to visit the city following last year’s summer in the spotlight.
With increasing numbers of international visitors viewing a trip by Eurostar between London and either Paris and Brussels as an essential part of their European itinerary, passenger numbers have seen a significant uplift compared to the same quarter last year.
Petrovic continued: “We have entered an exciting new chapter in our expansion plans characterised by new routes and new services.
“The addition of Amsterdam to our list of European capital cities will be transformational for our business and the development of international high-speed rail travel across Europe.”