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Strong tourist trade boosts Eurostar

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14:15 CEST+02:00

Channel Tunnel train operator Eurostar saw sales surge in the first quarter, thanks to customers using their services for leisure.

The company saw sales revenues in the first quarter rise to £211 million (€256 million) – a 7% increase on last year.  Passenger numbers are also up by 4%.

While business travel has broadly stayed equal with 2011 figures, leisure travel has gone up, driving the rise in revenues.

Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: "The year got off to a strong start, with sales revenues and passenger numbers on the up.

"Our core destinations continue to be a big draw for passengers but we have also seen particularly good take-up of our Amsterdam fares as passengers are increasingly keen to try out new leisure destinations by high-speed rail."

Eurostar, 55% of which is owned by French train company SNCF, are also set to have a good summer, with the London Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee.

"We are gearing up for an exciting summer as the nation counts down to the London 2012 celebrations,” said Petrovic

“Bookings for the June bank holiday weekend are looking strong, with thousands of visitors coming to London to enjoy the unique pageantry of the Queen's Jubilee."

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