Eurostar has released an update on continued recovery in the first half of 2022, reporting a “robust return of business travel”.

The high-speed rail operator said that business travel on its services had returned to 70 per cent of 2019 levels, with 75 per cent of the firm’s pre-pandemic timetables now in operation.

Eurostar also released the results of a survey, showing that 78 per cent of travellers were expecting to travel more or the same for business between UK and Europe compared to 2019.

The company said that the recovery in business travel demand had been fastest among French and US firms, driven by the banking, luxury and consultancy sectors.

The survey also revealed that 90 per cent of respondents cited face-to-face contact between businesses and clients as the driving factor for the return to business travel.

Nearly 60 per cent of businesses claimed direct contact was “a more efficient way to do business”, as well as it playing a role in supporting team morale and improving colleague and client relationships.

Eurostar also said that the surveyed showed that 86 per cent of travellers were considering bleisure (extended business plus leisure) trips in 2022.

Finally the operator said that over 20 per cent of its corporate clients were now mandating train travel for sustainability reasons where it was a viable option.

Commenting on the news Francois Le Doze, Eurostar’s chief commercial officer, said:

“Business travel has resumed faster than we expected in 2022, especially considering that we are only running around three-quarters of our pre pandemic timetable. We are confident that this trend will continue after the summer period, with September traditionally marking a busy month for corporate travel.

“Over the last two years we have all enjoyed the flexibility of home working and many are looking to protect the additional leisure or family time that offered. For regular business travellers, the option to extend work trips to explore a new destination and enjoy relaxation with friends and family is high on the agenda this year.

“It is pleasing to see in both France and the Netherlands that governments are following the same path as businesses, looking to use policy to influence travel choice for the benefit of the environment. We are committed to working with the rail industry to further optimise our timetables and connections to make it easier for more passengers to choose train over plane.”

Last month the Dutch government announced plans to cut the maximum number of flights allowed per year at Amsterdam Schiphol airport, in a bid to reduce noise and air pollution.

Eurostar is set to add a fourth daily weekday service between London and the Netherlands in September, allowing it to carry up to 3,600 people per day between London and the Netherlands.

Eurostar to add fourth daily weekday service to the Netherlands