Leap Year, Leap in sales for Eurostar

27 Feb 2012

*Eurostar reports passenger numbers up 24% on 29 February compared to a typical Wednesday
*Eurostar research finds almost 47% of women would 'pop the question'
*30% of people consider Paris to be the most romantic city in Europe

With another Leap Year fast approaching, thousands of couples are preparing to travel for a romantic break as Eurostar reports a 24%1 surge in bookings on Wednesday 29 February, compared to Wednesday 2 March last year.

New research by Eurostar reveals almost half (47 per cent) of women would propose to their partner. The study also found that those women who do pluck up the courage can expect a positive response, with 75 per cent of the men questioned saying they would be comfortable if their girlfriend proposed.

However, those men that do say yes may not be too pleased when they realise they're still expected to buy the ring, as 64 per cent of women indicated they would still want their new fiancé to buy the diamond.

When it comes to timing it seems both men and women are in agreement. Almost half of the men and women questioned (49 vs 42 per cent) said they would ideally propose on a romantic holiday, compared to 34 percent and 21 per cent respectively on their partner's birthday, and 31 percent and 27 per cent respectively on their anniversary.

After decades at the top of the pile, Paris still topped the list of most romantic European cities for both men and women with almost a third of both sexes voting the city as more romantic than either Venice or Rome. Whereas, Berlin was voted as the least romantic city with less than 1% of those questioned claiming the city set their hearts a flutter.

The most romantic European cities:

1. Paris (30%)

2. Venice (26%)

3. Rome (15%)

4. Barcelona (5%)

5. Prague (4%)

Mary Walsh, Director of Communications for Eurostar said; "Each year we see a jump in bookings to Paris for Valentines Day and this year with attractive pricing we've seen a real surge on February 29, compared to a typical Wednesday. Paris has always been seen as one of the most romantic cities in the world and with the city constantly changing, there's always somewhere new to explore each time you visit."

-ENDS -

Note to editors:
1. Wednesday 29 February 2012 compared with Wednesday 02 March 2011

Survey by Opinion Matters based on online interviews with over 1,100 adults aged 18+ (in UK). Fieldwork: 10 – 13 February 2012

About Eurostar

1. Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland® Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.

2. Eurostar was established in 1994 as a partnership between three railway companies: SNCF, SNCB and LCR (London and Continental Railways). On 1 September 2010, Eurostar became a single, unified corporate entity owned by three shareholders: SNCF, SNCB and LCR.

3. The current Eurostar train was first introduced into service in 1994 carrying 750 passengers and operating at speeds of up to 300kph. Since then, the fleet of 28 trains has carried more than 100 million passengers between London and the Continent. Following their refurbishment these trains will continue to form a core part of the Eurostar fleet. The new Eurostar e320 will carry more than 900 passengers at speeds of up to 320kph.

4. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe's leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding European high-speed rail network.

5. The Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel

· Since 2001 the Ashden awards have been supporting sustainability projects across the globe and now they're working with Eurostar to promote sustainable travel.

· As part of the Tread Lightly programme to cut carbon and get people thinking differently about their journeys, Eurostar has launched the Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel.

· With a prize fund and a host of benefits, the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel will celebrate and support local sustainable travel projects in the UK, France and Belgium.

6. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies. Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates vehicle shuttle services and the Channel Tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's biggest customer.

7. To book tickets or for more travel information, please visit www.eurostar.com or call 03448 224 777.

For more information contact:

Eurostar Press Office
Eurostar
t:0044 (0)20 7843 5500
e: press.office@eurostar.com