One in Three Global Travelers to Book Online by 2012

By the end of 2012, travelers will book one-third of the world’s travel sales online, according to a new report from travel industry research firm PhoCusWright. Online leisure/unmanaged business travel bookings will grow twice as fast as the total market, estimated to surpass $313 billion by 2012.

PhoCusWright’s Global Online Travel Overview Second Edition compares four major regions—Europe, U.S., Asia Pacific and Latin America—revealing a global travel industry that is still recovering from the 2009 recession, a recession which triggered a 13 percent decline in global sales. In the study, PhoCusWright projects that global travel bookings will increase by 6 percent in both 2011 and 2012, at which time the market will recover from 2009 losses.

Among the four regions studied, the U.S. and Europe represent more than three-fourths of all online sales, but less than two-thirds of total travel sales. As online travel bookings in the emerging markets of Asia Pacific and Latin America accelerate, the combined share for Europe and the U.S. will fall to 73 percent in 2012 and continue to decline thereafter.

”As online penetration growth in the more mature U.S. and European travel markets slows, travel companies are looking to the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions for the next pot of gold,” said Lorraine Sileo, vice president, research, for PhoCus Wright. “In these emerging markets, macro-economic gains, increased travel and growing technology adoption will continue to fuel significant growth in online bookings.”

Unique factors will also impact online travel growth in each region and market. PhoCusWright’s report features both global and regional market sizing through 2012 for the total travel market and online leisure/unmanaged business category. Despite cultural and technological challenges, more and more consumers prefer to book online and seek the opportunity to do so, PhoCusWright concluded.



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