Belfast Telegraph

Eurostar sees 24% rise in US travellers after pound's value falls

Eurostar has reported a surge in demand from US visitors taking advantage of favourable exchange rates.

The number of Americans travelling with the cross-Channel rail operator grew by 24% in the first six months of the year compared with the same period in 2016.

They have taken advantage of the fall in the value of sterling compared with the US dollar - down 9% since last year's EU referendum, the firm said.

UK business travel increased by 7% while total passenger numbers grew by 1% to 5.04 million.

The company's sales revenues for the first half of the year rose by 6% at constant exchange rates to £452.6 million, compared with 2016.

Eurostar suffered a £25 million loss last year as the number of travellers dropped by 3% after deadly attacks in Paris in November 2015 and Brussels in March 2016, both key destinations for the firm.

But it has since seen a resurgence in bookings.

Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: " We have recorded good growth in the first six months of the year with a marked increase in traffic from the US and overseas markets.

"This is testament to the enduring popularity of our destinations combined with favourable exchange rates. The outlook for the second half is promising with a busy summer season and bookings for the autumn up on last year."

Tourism experts say Americans have long viewed the UK as an aspirational but expensive destination, so many are using the fall in the value of sterling as a reason to cross the Atlantic.

US visitors are often attracted to the UK's reputation for history and tradition, with the Tower of London, Edinburgh Castle and Westminster Abbey among the most popular attractions.

Travel firm Expedia reported an 80% jump in UK summer bookings from across the US between January and March, compared with the same period last year.

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