August 30, 2013

China’s online travel bookings to double by 2015


China's travelers continue to shift online at a blistering pace, with online leisure/unmanaged business travel gross bookings growing three times faster than the overall travel market, according to the latest PhoCusWright data.

China's travel market is powering through the headwinds of a slowing economy, driven by enormous travel demand among the country's expanding middle class. Freshly crowned as the largest travel market in Asia Pacific, China will sustain double-digit travel bookings growth through 2015, according to a new PhoCusWright Global and Asia Pacific Edition report. Travelers continue to shift online at a blistering pace, with online leisure/unmanaged business travel gross bookings growing three times faster than the overall travel market.

"Despite ongoing economic challenges, the middle class is hungry for independent leisure trips and their options for online searching, shopping and buying are expanding," said Maggie Rauch, PhoCusWright research analyst. "With online travel penetration still trailing well behind Japan and Australia/New Zealand at 15%, there remains enormous potential for online growth, and competition among travel suppliers and intermediaries is hotter than ever."

Online travel gross bookings will more than double between 2012 and 2015 to exceed US$30 billion, according to PhoCusWright's China Online Travel Overview Sixth Edition. Online travel agencies, led by homegrown players Ctrip and eLong, will continue to post substantial gains, even as they lose online share to hotel and airline websites. And looming on the periphery are the new breeds of online intermediaries: an increasingly transactional crop of metasearch sites and online shopping malls that have upped their emphasis on the travel vertical.

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