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Wednesday 3 September 2014

Eurostar passenger figures hit by 'World Cup effect'

Peter Woodman

Published 17/07/2014 | 07:39

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Dancers perform at the World Cup closing ceremony at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.  Photo by Pool/Getty Images
Dancers perform at the World Cup closing ceremony at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Pool/Getty Images

The "World Cup effect" has slowed passenger and revenue growth for Channel Tunnel high-speed train company Eurostar.

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The company was able to report that passenger numbers rose 2pc to five million in the first half of 2014 and that sales revenue had increased by 0.5pc to £456m compared with the first six months of last year.

But Eurostar said it had been hit in recent weeks by the so-called "World Cup effect" which has seen many households delay or postpone their spending on leisure travel until after the final match.

The company also reported that the convergence of the Easter and May holidays in the UK had seen consumers travelling only once where they might normally have booked two trips.

Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: "While a number of factors in the second quarter of the year led to a dampening in demand, we are now beginning to see a more benign trading environment with encouraging signs of economic stability in France as well as the UK.

"These more favourable conditions have helped deliver strong growth in business travel across our markets."

During the first half of the year, Eurostar saw stronger levels of business travel bookings with the volume of business passengers rising 6pc compared with the same period in 2013.

Over the first half of the year the number of international passengers rose by 7% compared with the same period in 2013.

But the number of travellers originating in South America, including World Cup host nation Brazil, was substantially lower in the period April-June 2014.

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