Eurostar has seen an increase in passenger numbers and sales revenue in the first three months of this year, the high speed rail service has announced.
The growth has been put down to a boost in leisure travel with the service, as business travel has remained largely the same compared to last year.
Sales revenues were up by 7% in the first quarter of 2012, rising from £197 million in the first quarter of 2011 to £210 million this year.
There was also a boost to passenger numbers on Eurostar, up from 2.15 million at the start of 2011 to 2.24 million at the start of 2012.
“The year got off to a strong start with sales revenues and passenger numbers on the up,” said Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar.
“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 is hoping to build on the strong start to 2012 throughout the rest of the year, as events in London are expected to attract visitors from the continent.
“We are gearing up for an exciting summer as the nation counts down to the London 2012 celebrations,” said Mr 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.”
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the London Olympics will make the capital an attractive destination for tourists, and Eurostar is hoping to capitalise on the events.
“There is no doubt that London is set to have one of its most memorable years on record and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors from around the world to share in the experience,” added Mr Petrovic.
Research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the number of Brits travelling abroad grew for the first time in four years last year.
It was found that 3.3 million people travelled abroad in February last year, compared to 3.2 million in February 2010.
Overall, the number of Brits travelling abroad grew by 0.8% in 2011, with a large number choosing short-haul destinations over those further afield.
If you are planning a trip abroad this year, whether it is to Europe or to a more long-haul destination, it is a good idea to invest in a prepaid travel money card. These can be cheaper than a traditional credit or debit card and offer extra security features.