OTAs to profit from booming global travel sector, finds research

Online travel agencies are to profit from a booming global travel sector over the next decade, according to research revealed today.

An Oxford Economics study, commissioned by travel technology giant Amadeus, predicted the industry would grow 5.4% per annum for the next 10 years, outstripping global GDP.

But while Holger Taubmann, Amadeus’s senior vice president for distribution, said the industry was at the beginning of a “golden era”, he warned that only the best-equipped companies would survive.

“This forecast will be welcome news for many segments of the industry that are just beginning to emerge from the recession,” he said.

“However, growth will be far from evenly distributed and there are likely to be both winners and losers.”

While the report did not unearth anything about which the industry is not already aware, its findings reaffirmed the significance of emerging markets to growth in the online travel space.

China, according to Andrew Tessler, associate director of Oxford Economics and the author of the report, will overtake the United States to become the world’s largest outbound travel market by the end of this year.

By 2023 its total share of global outbound expenditure is predicted to reach 20%, up from 1% in 2005.

Elsewhere, Brasil, India, Russia, Turkey and Indonesia were cited as the markets with the biggest potential for growth.

The report also highlighted the increasing importance of being able to sell travel products via mobile devices.

According to the study, mobile bookings in the US are to triple in the next year, while one in five travel transactions in Europe will be made on handheld devices.

William El Kaim, marketing technology director for travel management company Carlson Wagonlit, was one of 15 senior industry executives involved in the research.

He predicted mobile bookings would accelerate in coming years when data roaming charges are removed.

“The removal of roaming charges will change everything,” he said.

To download a free copy of the report click here.

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