Surfers flock to travel websites

The number of visitors to soared by a massive 115% last year – the third highest for a travel-related site, according to online research company Nielsen//NetRatings.


The figures for the overall travel sector put Information Britain, a tourist directory of UK attractions and accommodation, in the top spot with a rise of 430% year-on-year.


Travel information and map website ViaMichelin came in second place, with and Virgin Travel in fourth and fifth places respectively.


Other top performers during 2005, compared to the previous year, included Airline Network (up 73%), InterContinental Hotels Group (up 68%), Ryanair (up 52%), Thomas Cook (up 48%) and Active Hotels (up 48%).


Nielsen said during December 2005 almost half of the UK’s Internet population – 12.7 million people – visited a travel-related website, an increase of 20% on the same month in 2004.


Of the top 10 best performers, Virgin Travel – incorporating the The TrainLine, Virgin Trains, Virgin Holidays and Virgin Flights brands – attracted the highest traffic figures, with 1.8 million unique users.


European Internet analyst Alex Burmaster said: “The fastest movers aren’t necessarily the most well-known brands. The large growth of the online travel directories illustrates superbly one of the major benefits of the Internet, the ability to research, access and compare large amounts of information in an extremely convenient way.”

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