London’s Olympic Games is proving a godsend for travel companies suffering a decline in business customers as a result of the economic crisis.
Eurostar’s passenger train service through the channel tunnel into the British capital has seen a boost in passenger numbers from Olympic visitors and athletes.
At London’s St Pancras Station, Eurostar’s chief executive Nicolas Petrovic told us: “For the whole Olympics we are going to carry over 1,000 athletes, especially the French and Belgium teams, nearly all of them, but also athletes from Australia, Japan, New Zealand. So it is so exciting to see all of them arriving here in London, just under the Olympic rings.”
Petrovic said corporate clients and business travellers – particularly in the financial services industry – are cutting back on travel budgets so they are seeing different travel patterns and travellers: “What we see is new people, new customers, people who have never come to London and who have never experienced the Eurostar, and for us that is the main objective.”
Earlier this month Eurostar said its tourist traffic rose to 4.8 million passengers in the first six months of this year, that was a two percent in increase on the same period last year.
Revenue was up one percent at the equivalent of 542 million euros.