This year-on-year growth is particularly strong given that in the first half of 2010 Eurostar benefited from increased sales revenues resulting from the ash cloud disruption, during which it ran 70 extra trains and carried 100,000 extra passengers. Excluding the positive impact of the ash cloud disruption on the 2010 figures, underlying H1 2011 sales revenues in fact grew by 12% in comparison with the same period last year.
Eurostar is reporting over the first half of the year, leisure sales revenues grew by 8% and leisure passenger volumes were up 4%.
Demand for bookings over the summer period is high and over 950,000 passengers travelled on Eurostar in July alone making this a bumper summer for high speed rail travel. As a result, over 20 extra services have been scheduled to run over the summer.
Whilst Eurostar has reported a rise in the overall number of passengers over the last six months, there has been a particular spike in the volume of international travellers.
Over the first half of the year the number of international passengers rose by 21% to over half a million travellers. This was driven in part by a strong increase in passengers originating from the US who increasingly see a trip on Eurostar as an integral part of a European tour.
Nicolas Petrovic, CEO of Eurostar, commented: "The growth in the number of travellers heading for London earlier in the year has gathered momentum and in the first half international bookings have gone up by over 20 per cent. With 'Royal Wedding fever', London 2012 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on the horizon, London is highly attractive and remains a 'hot' destination for international visitors."
In the first quarter of 2011 Eurostar saw a 9% rise in Business Premier sales revenues and this strong performance continued through the first six months of the year.
This uplift is a reflection of the high levels of transactions and activity among businesses operating between the UK and the continent, particularly the financial services sector.
Nicolas Petrovic continued: "Over the last six months we have introduced a range of upgrades to our business premier service including guaranteed boarding, new Alain Roux menus and on board taxi booking to ensure that passengers' time on board is as enjoyable and productive as possible."