Post-Brexit uncertainty has hit business travel by Eurostar while the Brussels terrorist attacks continue to affect levels of leisure passengers, the company disclosed today.
The high speed Channel Tunnel passenger rail service revealed a 3% drop in passengers in the second quarter of the year to 2.7 million as sales revenues fell by 10% year-on-year to £208 million.
Eurostar reported business demand softened in the run-up to the EU referendum and leisure traffic continued to be impacted by the Brussels terrorist attacks.
“Uncertainty over the UK’s future relationship with Europe has resulted in a drop in business travel, whilst on the leisure market there has been a continued slowdown in traffic from international markets, the USA and Japan in particular,” the company said.
However, Eurostar gained from a 2% rise in travellers in June due to the Euro 2016 football tournament in France.
“With three quarters of the matches being staged in Eurostar destinations, over a million passengers travelled by high-speed rail, with fans from across Europe creating a celebratory atmosphere in stations, on board and in the host cities,” the company said.
“The success of the Welsh team boosted travel in the final stages of the tournament, as thousands of Welsh fans chose to take the train to the game.”
Eurostar is to redesign and extend of its departure area and the opening of a new business lounge at Paris Gare du Nord station by the end of the year.
Chef executive Nicolas Petrovic said: “In the run up to the EU referendum we experienced a slowdown in business travel and the uncertainty following the vote to leave, combined with the Brussels terrorist attack, has continued to dampen demand.
“At the same time, as a business trading on both sides of the Channel, a drop in the pound typically drives an increase in demand for leisure travel from the continent as customers take advantage of lower cost trips to London.”
He added: “The transformation of Gare du Nord and the opening of our new business lounge mark the next phase of our investment in our stations and our commitment to giving our customers the best possible experience at every stage of their journey.”
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