Eurostar travellers 'remain cautious' after Brussels attacks

Eurostar Image copyright Getty Images

Eurostar has reported a fall in passengers using the high-speed rail service, saying travellers "remain cautious" in the wake of the Brussels terror attacks.

Passenger numbers fell to 2.2 million in the three months to the end of March from 2.3 million a year earlier.

Eurostar said "demand is dampened" and there had been a particular slowdown in travellers from the US and Asia.

Revenues also fell to £201m, down 6% from a year earlier.

However, Eurostar said it had seen a surge in ticket sales in recent weeks ahead of the Euro 2016 football tournament, with the opening day of the competition - 10 June - proving to be the busiest day as the hosts France take on Romania in Paris.

The company said it expected nearly 500,000 passengers to make the trip to the main host cities in France, including Lille, Paris, Lyon and Marseille, throughout June.


Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic told the BBC's Today programme travellers "remain cautious" following the terrorist attacks in Brussels in March.

While the number of people coming from the UK rebounded "quite quickly" after the attacks, those travelling from further afield still have not.

"People coming form North America and South East Asia, particularly Japan, are fearful of coming to Europe at all. They don't really understand what's going on and would rather go elsewhere altogether," he said.

Past experience suggested it would take 12 months for numbers to get back to normal after the attacks on the Belgian and French capitals, he added.

"Hopefully next year international visitors will come back,"

Eurostar's new route between London and Amsterdam, describe by Mr Petrovic as key to Eurostar's future growth plans, saw its new e320 train tested on the Dutch rail network for the first time last month. Services are expected to start at the end of 2017.

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