Eurostar has benefited from “robust” business travel bookings in the first half of 2017 with corporate passenger numbers rising by 5 per cent.

The rail operator’s UK corporate bookings performed even better with a 7 per cent increase in business travellers during the first six months of the year.

Eurostar’s overall passenger numbers rose by 1 per cent to 5.04 million compared with 4.97 million during the first half of 2016. Sales revenue rose by 11 per cent to £455 million, although this increase was only 6 per cent when currency fluctuations have been removed from the figures.

Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive of Eurostar, 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.”

Eurostar said that US passengers rose by 24 per cent year-on-year, while bookings from the “rest of the world” went up by 18 per cent.

The operator is currently rolling out a series of innovations including an enhancement of its entertainment system such as a virtual reality experience called Odyssey.

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