Boom time for ME online travel industry
Dubai, October 24, 2012
The online travel industry in the Middle East is flourishing at an unprecedented rate with the internet bookings growing by nearly a third this year, according to a new study.
Nearly a quarter (22 per cent) of all travel bookings made in the region will be online in 2014, said the study conducted by global travel market research company PhoCusWright and Travelport.
The online travel sales in the Middle East region will grow 31 per cent from 2011 to almost $10.4 billion this year which will balloon to $15.8 billion by 2014.
The research also shows the rapid development of regional Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), which are growing at a compound annual growth rate of 18 per cent between 2010 and 2014.
In 2011, 39 per cent of all online bookings in the Middle East were made via OTAs and the gross booking value via OTAs is set to nearly double from $3.1 billion to $6 billion by 2014.
“The online travel industry in the Middle East is growing at an unprecedented rate”, remaarked Rabih Saab, the president and managing director, Middle East and Africa, Travelport.
"The Middle East is one of the world’s fastest growing tourism destinations and source markets, and the online potential is immense," he observed..
"To remain competitive in the online world, travel agents have to offer travellers more choice, a comprehensive range of content and a better shopping experience," Saab stated.
"At Travelport we work closely with travel agents to help them meet these demands by offering broader content through faster distribution and sharing our expertise so they can firmly establish themselves in this rapidly evolving industry," he added.
Air remains the strongest category online, accounting for 67 per cent of all online travel bookings in 2011. Online hotel sales in the Middle East accounted for 32 per cent in 2011 and car rentals made up the remaining 1 per cent.
Notably, 59 per cent of all online hotel bookings were made through Online Travel Agencies as opposed to direct bookings via hotel websites.
“Nearly two thirds of all online hotel bookings in the Middle East were made through intermediaries last year,” said Saab.
"With this foresight, Travelport has increased its focus on the hospitality sector in the past year and we continue to invest heavily in our GDS hospitality offering and Travelport Rooms and More – our online hospitality solution."
"This has paid off, as we have tripled the number of hotel properties available on Rooms and More since its launch last year, and continue to add key suppliers to our GDS platform," he added.-TradeArabia News Service