Eurostar Says U.K.’s October Break Will Be Busiest Day This Year
(Bloomberg) -- Eurostar International Ltd. is gearing up for its busiest day of the year later this month as looser U.K. border rules spur a surge in continental vacations during Britain’s last school break before Christmas.
The Channel Tunnel rail operator will run a total of 15 return services from London to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam on Oct. 22, ahead of the week-long half-term holiday, it said in a statement Tuesday.
Eurostar will then revert to its current truncated timetable of nine daily round-trips, before extending that from Dec. 12 to meet demand for travel and shopping breaks. During the festive season, there will be nine weekday return services between London and Paris and five to Brussels, two of which will go on to Amsterdam. Bookings quadrupled in September from a year earlier, aided by flexible tickets allowing changes up to seven days before departure.
The express-train firm is seeking a revenue boost after the coronavirus crisis starved it of cash, forcing shareholders led by the French state to provide a 250 million-pound ($340 million) rescue package. The company ran only two or three trains a day over the summer as border restrictions persisted, compared with a usual timetable of one service every half hour in each direction.
The U.K. is lightening border restrictions after frustrating travel firms with constantly changing rules throughout most of the pandemic. A new system that does away with a complicated “traffic-light” approach took effect this month, with fully vaccinated people able to travel widely and a red list requiring a 10-day hotel quarantine when returning to Britain cut to seven nations.
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