Eurostar, the high-speed train link between Britain and the European continent, said Thursday that its sales rose slightly in the first quarter of the year even though a poor economic climate had cut down on business trips that account for a large part of its clientele. Revenues for the service between London on one end, and Brussels and Paris on the other, gained 1.0 percent to £213 million (249 million euros, $325 million), with a total of 2.23 million people travelling on the trains, a slight decrease from 2.24 million during the same period a year earlier, a statement said. Eurostar boss Nicolas Petrovic was quoted in a French-language statement as saying the figure represented "an encouraging start to the year in a difficult context owing as much to severe winter conditions in southern England and northern France as to the generally unfavourable economic environment." The company emphasised that "the general European economic climate continued to influence sales of business travel, with companies in particular cutting their budgets." Holiday travel underpinned sales meanwhile owing in large part to a marketing campaign that resulted in the sale of 150,000 tickets over the three-month period for the relatively modest sum of 79 euros.