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India tops online travel sales in Asia


March 12, 2007: India, where the travel and tourism sector is already booming, has more good news: The country is predicted to be Asia’s fastest growing market for online travel retail by 2010.

According to global market analyst Euromonitor International, online travel retail market in India is expected to get a boom over the next five years, with internet-based travel retail transactions increasing by a whopping 271% between 2005 and 2010.

Euromonitor International, presenting is forecast about the growth of online travel retail in the Asia-Pacific region at the Travel Distribution Summit Asia 2007 in Singapore the other day, predicts that online travel retail sales generated in India will exceed US$2 billion in 2010 alone.

This record growth in India’s internet travel retail transactions will be fuelled by a number of major factors, which are also affecting other key Asian markets, including Vietnam, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Primarily, the rapid growth of the urban population in India, expected over the next five years, will provide the perfect setting for travel retail companies with online operations since more and more Indians wishing to travel will have access to the internet.

Parita Chitakasem, Asia-Pacific Travel and Tourism manager at Euromonitor International says: “A strong correlation has emerged between the highest computer ownership rates and the largest urban populations, as they provide the ideal infrastructure for internet services. With double-digit growth forecast in the number of urban households between 2006 and 2010, India is showing great potential for online businesses and as a result, great potential for online travel retail.”

The Indian government’s support is the second crucial factor in the development of successful online penetration. As the Indian government enhances its support of internet usage, particularly in education, Euromonitor International predicts that this will be a key driver of the online market, offering a wealth of opportunities for online travel operators.

The South Korean government has already set an example by actively supporting internet-based companies. The result: South Korea is now one of the world’s most advanced countries for communication technology, having the world’s highest user ratio of broadband. South Korea also has the second largest internet travel retail market in Asia, behind Japan.

Euromonitor International also predicts that online travel companies in Asia will benefit from a recent shift in demographic usage of the internet, to include increasingly older travellers.

The over-65 generation in Asia is becoming more adept at using the internet. As such, they should be a target consumer group for all online travel companies, particularly as over-65s typically have high disposable income levels to spend on expensive or long-awaited holidays.

At present, Japan is leading by offering internet services tailored to its ageing population. On this, Euromonitor’s Chitakasem says: “In Japan, there has been a rise in computer schools that specifically cater to people over 60, plus a growing number of websites aimed at senior bloggers.

“Though it is only early days in Asia for this emerging trend, it is clearly not a development to be ignored,” remarks Chitakasem.



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