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Eurostar reports continuing growth in the first half of 2014

17 July 2014  •  Author: Eurostar

Eurostar, the high speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, today reported continued growth in both passenger volumes and sales revenues in the first half of 2014. In the first six months of the year, passenger numbers rose 2% to 5.0 from 4.9 million in the same period in 2013. Sales revenues also grew by 0.5%1 to £456 million from £453 million in H1 2013.

While Eurostar has reported today growth in both passenger numbers and sales revenues, the half year figures have been impacted negatively by a number of factors in the second quarter which, in combination, resulted in a softening in demand for leisure travel.

These factors include the convergence of the Easter and May holidays in the UK which saw consumers travelling only once where they might normally have booked two trips. Additionally, there was also a softening in demand for holiday destinations in northern Europe as well as the so called ‘World Cup effect’ which has seen many households delay or postpone their spending on leisure travel until after the final match.

Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive, Eurostar, said; “Whilst a number of factors in the second quarter of the year lead to a dampening in demand, we are now beginning to see a more benign trading environment with encouraging signs of economic stability in France as well as the UK. These more favourable conditions have helped deliver strong growth in business travel across our markets.”

Business travel bookings strong

During the first half of the year, Eurostar has seen stronger levels of business travel bookings with the volume of business passengers rising 6% compared to the same period in 2013. As well as the strengthening of the economy reported in the UK in recent quarters, Eurostar is now also seeing some improvement in France with encouraging signs of growth in business travel on both sides of the Channel. The return to more normal levels of growth reflects signs of greater stability in the Eurozone economies.

Continuing growth in international passenger volumes

In addition to the overall growth in passenger numbers announced today, Eurostar is pleased to report continuing growth in the volume of international customers choosing to travel with Eurostar. Over the first half of the year the number of international passengers rose by 7% compared to the same period in 2013.

This robust growth was, however, similarly impacted by a number of factors in the second quarter. The number of travellers originating in South America, including Brazil, host nation of the FIFA World Cup, was substantially lower in Q2 as football fans stayed at home to enjoy the tournament. In the same three month period, consumer confidence in Australia has fallen to its lowest level in recent years also resulting in many consumers choosing to defer their travel plans.

Station enhancements programme progressing well

Eurostar’s programme of station improvements is progressing well and the final stage of the London St Pancras ticket office transformation was completed at the end of the second quarter. Following its relocation within the station, travellers are now benefitting from dramatically improved facilities, a bold new design and a streamlined journey through the terminal.

The next major project under Eurostar’s station improvements programme is the comprehensive refurbishment of its business lounge in Brussels-Midi station. The look and feel of the area will be completely overhauled with seating capacity increased, wifi connectivity improved, and lighting upgraded to subtly change in tone throughout the day creating a more welcoming space. The lounge will close on the 2nd August to allow the works to be completed before re-opening in October.

Eurostar’s programme of investment also includes planned works to its major terminals in France, with work already underway in Lille Europe station and planning underway for construction at Gare du Nord in Paris.

Seasonal seat sale – low rate leisure fares

Timed to coincide with the conclusion of the World Cup, Eurostar has launched two separate ticket offers which are available for travel over the summer;

  • Incredible value child fares for just £1 each way to Paris, Brussels and Lille throughout August. Tickets are on sale from the 16th to the 21st July and the same low fare is available in both Standard and Standard Premier
  • A special fixed £99 return fare available right up to departure on selected trains to Paris, Brussels or Lille for travel in standard class between 24th July and 31st August. Tickets are on sale now.

Nicolas Petrovic continues; “Targeting consumers who may have chosen to defer their traditional summer getaway, we recently launched two summer price promotions with some of the best value fares we have ever offered. The impact of these promotions will be felt in the third quarter and we expect to see a normalisation in leisure travel patterns through the second half of the year.”

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