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23 Apr 2014

Eurostar reports business travel boost

Eurostar has reported an increase in revenue on the back of rising demand from business travellers.

The cross-channel rail service recorded a seven per cent increase in revenue during the first quarter, with sales between January and March topping £227 million - a record figure for the period.

Overall, total passenger numbers increased by three per cent to 2.3 million, with the number of passengers travelling on the firm's Business Premier class tickets climbing by six per cent.

Eurostar attributed the rise to "positive corporate sentiment", saying the figures demonstrate the resilience of businesses which operate on both sides of the English Channel.

Commenting on the first quarter performance, chief executive of Eurostar Nicolas Petrovic said: "The improvement we have seen in the corporate travel market in recent months underpins the strong performance reported today.

"Coupled with the benign winter weather which saw far lower levels of weather-related disruption than in previous years, the first quarter has set us on course for continued growth throughout the year."

The robust performance was not confined to the business sector, however, as Eurostar also reported a three per cent climb in the number of leisure passengers compared to the same period in 2013.

This is particularly noteworthy, the firm said, because the Easter holidays this year fell outside the first quarter. While the Easter period normally helps to boost sales, the fact that the holidays are omitted from these year's results demonstrates the resilience of the leisure market.

According to Eurostar, demand from leisure customers is continuing to grow across all of its core markets.

The firm has recently opened a new ticket office in London St Pancras International, with dedicated spaces for leisure and Business Premier passengers. It says this will provide a more streamlined customer experience.

In January, it was revealed that two mobile phone providers had reached a deal to provide telephone and internet access along the 30 miles of the north section of the tunnel, appealing to business passengers who wish to stay online throughout their journey.