Published on : Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Eurostar, the high speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, today reports strong forward bookings for the Euro 2016 tournament as football fever kicks in. With direct high-speed Eurostar services to the main host cities including Lille, Paris, Lyon and Marseille, nearly half a million passengers from across the UK are scheduled to travel during the tournament.
Over the last few weeks Eurostar has seen a surge in ticket sales, with June 10th proving to be the busiest day as the hosts open the tournament in the Stade de France in Paris. With the successful introduction of Eurostar’s new fleet of e320 trains at the end of 2015, football fans can now connect to the free onboard wifi and entertainment system to follow their team whilst on the move.
Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said:
“We have seen an unprecedented demand from football supporters keen to get the Euros by train. With our city-centre to city-centre services and a brand new state-of-the art fleet of trains, we are ideally placed to carry fans from the UK direct to the heart of the action in France.”
Challenging first quarter of 2016
The strong bookings for Euro 2016 follow a challenging first quarter of the year. Travellers remain cautious following the terrorist attacks in Brussels and demand is dampened.
The impact has been particularly evident in international markets with Eurostar reporting a slowdown in travellers from the US and Asia. As a result, passenger numbers in the first three months of the year were 2.2 million, a 3% reduction on the same period last year (2.3 million: Q1 2015) and sales revenues were 6% lower year on year (£201 million Q1 2016: £215 million Q1 2015).
Testing for the new London-Amsterdam service
Plans for the launch of Eurostar’s new route between London and Amsterdam are gathering momentum as the new e320 train was tested on the Dutch network for the first time last month. The journey marked the initial phase of a comprehensive testing programme with commercial services expected to start at the end of next year.
With journey times of around four hours and a city-centre to city-centre service, Eurostar will revolutionise travel between these capital cities offering a comfortable and convenient alternative to the airlines.
Nicolas Petrovic continued:
“The start of testing for the e320 on the Dutch network marks a major milestone in the run-up to the launch our new service. With over 3 million passengers travelling by air between London and Amsterdam, this new route is key to our growth plans. Our fast, comfortable, point-to-point service is set to transform travel between these important financial and tourist hubs.”