Half year sales revenue at Eurostar rose by 1% to £425 million, spurred by increased numbers of leisure travellers.

But business travel weakened in the second quarter of the year as the number of public holidays and the eurozone crisis impacted on many business customers’ travel plans. 

Total passenger numbers increased by 2% to 4.8 million in the six months.

Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said today: “We have delivered a resilient performance in the first half of the year despite the difficult economic climate.

“Leisure bookings have continued to grow and we have seen good take-up for travel to London over the summer period.

“During the Queen’s Jubilee we had one of our busiest weekends on record and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors from across Europe to enjoy all the attractions that London has to offer for the Games.”

He added: “Whilst leisure sales have held up over the last six months, there is no doubt that corporate clients and business travellers, particularly in the financial services industry, are feeling the squeeze and are cutting back on their travel budgets as they adapt to the economic environment.

“The combination of economic pressures and the London 2012 Games has meant that we are seeing different travel patterns this year. The traditional European summer close-down for business is kicking in earlier as all eyes turn to the Olympic celebrations in London.”

The number of passengers originating outside Europe grew by 11% in the first half of 2012 compared with last year.

This was driven in part by a strong increase in the number of passengers originating from the US and the Far East.