Channel Tunnel high-speed rail company Eurostar carried an increased number of passengers in the first part of this year, it was announced today.

The company, which runs services from London to Paris and Brussels, transported 2.15 million passengers in the first three months of 2011 - a 7.5% rise on the January-March 2010 figure.

Total sales revenue was up 10.7% to £197 million, with an increase in the amount of tickets being bought by Americans helping the leisure passenger numbers to rise 9.2%. Business traveller numbers also increased in the first part of this year.

Eurostar said it expected that the royal wedding would boost numbers this month, while, looking ahead, next year's London Olympics would also swell passenger figures.

Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: "We are pleased to report strong growth during the first quarter of 2011 in both sales revenues and passenger numbers.

"While market conditions remain uncertain, we have seen an increase in business passenger volumes with a particular uplift from clients in the financial services sector."

He promised that passengers could expect "to see a raft of innovation in the coming months and years".