You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Eurostar taps U.S. tourist return as terror concerns ease


Eurostar International said American tourists are returning to Europe as concerns about terrorist attacks ease, with the number of U.S. travelers on its Channel Tunnel express trains up 17 percent so far this year compared with the same period in 2016. 

Demand for business travel has also picked up, particularly in Britain, where bookings were 4 percent higher in the first 10 weeks, Eurostar said Thursday after posting a ($31 million (25 million-pound) loss for 2016, versus a 34 million-pound year-earlier profit.  

"With the return of travelers from the U.S. and business travel on the increase, the market is now rebounding strongly and we are optimistic about the growth prospects for the year," Chief Executive Nicolas Petrovic said. There has also been a resurgence in Chinese and Australian bookings, and visibility through the key Easter travel period is good, he said in an interview.  

Eurostar's passenger tally fell 4 percent to 10 million in 2016 following a spate of terrorist attacks in Europe that targeted cities including Paris and Brussels, two of Eurostar's three main terminals. U.S. visitors and Asian tour parties were among key groups to stay away.  

Sales fell 3 percent last year to $974 million (794 million pounds), or 8 percent at constant exchange rates. A revival began late in 2016, with Eurostar recording its busiest-ever December as the pound's slump following the U.K. vote to quit the European union spurred Parisians to visit London.  

The U.S. rebound has been aided by the strength of the dollar, with the same factor also encouraging Europeans to holiday locally rather than take trans-Atlantic trips, Petrovic said. The overall volume of passengers originating outside Europe increasing 18 percent in the first 10 weeks.  

Among London-based business travelers, Eurostar's client base now extends well beyond the financial sector to include the energy, technology and retail industries, among others, the CEO said. France's economy is also picking up, he said, while listing the forthcoming presidential election there alongside the outcome of Brexit talks and the possibility of further terrorist attacks as factors that could curb reverse the demand trend.  

For that reason the company won't yet be restoring frequencies it removed last year following the U.K. vote. "It's still early days and we're in recovery mode," Petrovic said. "There are still too many uncertainties."  

A continued recovery is vital as Eurostar prepares to introduce its first London-Amsterdam service at the end of this year with two return services a day.  

The train will reach the Dutch city in less than four hours via Brussels, though it's not yet clear whether it will serve Antwerp, Belgium, where the station may be too small to incorporate immigration facilities, Petrovic said. A stop in Rotterdam, three hours from London, is expected to be popular because the city has poor air links and provides access to The Hague.  

Eurostar has also opened a new business lounge at its Paris Gare du Nord terminus and invested in new e320 trains built by Siemens, each carrying 150 more people than members of the original fleet. Eleven of the 17 units have been delivered to date.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Travel

First-class meals now served at the airport, for the elite few
First-class meals now served at the airport, for the elite few

NEW YORK - "You've got to try the burger."  That was the counsel of Kurt Stache, a veteran of airport dining and airline marketing, while briefing me on the various attributes of recent renovations his employer, American Airlines, has completed at New York's JFK International Airport.   This particular "flagship"...
As travel industry awaits slowdown, travelers pack bags — for now
As travel industry awaits slowdown, travelers pack bags — for now

The travel industry is voicing a common refrain: President Donald Trump’s travel ban, terror attacks in Europe and a laptop ban represent a recipe for a potential sharp decline in visitors to and from the United States.  “When you hear words like ‘travel ban,’ it puts a big chill” on travel and tourism, James J. Murren...
Where to eat and drink in Port Aransas
Where to eat and drink in Port Aransas

Trips to Port Aransas for me in the past used to mean stops in Lockhart for barbecue, maybe a classic Whataburger run in the chain’s home of Corpus Christi and then cooking and grilling at a rental property. OK, and beer. Lots of beer. But over the past couple of months I’ve realized there are more culinary offerings than one might expect...
Dive in and go down below
Dive in and go down below

School’s out, summer is here and the weather is steamy. Luckily, there are plenty of natural spots surrounding Austin to stay cool that don’t come with chlorine and crowds. From sublime swimming holes to constantly chilled caves, here are a dozen places to chill on scorching summer days courtesy of Mother Nature. The best part? They are...
July sizzles with family fun
July sizzles with family fun

July can be hot, but Texas doesn’t let triple-digits stand in the way of fun. From spectacular July Fourth celebrations to fruit-focused festivals, here are a dozen not-to-miss happenings in the Lone Star State worthy of a road trip. Shiner June 30-July 1: This historic, beer-loving town’s annual Half Moon Holidays is upon us. Highlights...
More Stories