Eurostar says Q1 sales gain seven percent
European railway operator Eurostar, which links Brussels, London and Paris, said Tuesday that 2012 first quarter sales gained an annualised seven percent owing to stronger demand from tourists.
Eurostar, which is 55 percent owned by the French national railway SNCF, said sales climbed to 211 million pounds, or nearly 256 million euros ($337 million), even though more lucrative business travel had stagnated.
The number of passengers that travelled on the trains rose by four percent to 2.24 million, a statement said.
"Growth over the last three months has been driven by an increase in leisure travel," it added.
Eurostar expects traffic to be boosted in the coming months by several events scheduled to take place in London, notably the Summer Olympics.
"We are gearing up for an exciting summer as the nation counts down to the London 2012 celebrations," chief executive Nicolas Petrovic was quoted as saying.
"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," he added.
In addition to the SNCF, Eurostar shareholders include the London Continental Railways, which owns 40 percent, and the Belgian national railway operator SNCB, with a five percent holding.
© 2012 AFP