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Asia Pacific Market Research Consultancy, Marketshare releases findings of Asia Pacific Online Travel Market Study

Travel News Asia 21 April 2004

Marketshare, an independent Asia Pacific market research consultancy, today announced the launch of a major research initiative "E-Commerce in the Asia Pacific Travel Industry - Growth and Forecasts 2004-2006"

The research, conducted over a 3 month period involved consumer and business surveys in Sydney, Seoul, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Tokyo and over 50 in depth interviews with leading industry players from the hotel chains, airlines, travel agencies and associations across Asia Pacific. Leading travel companies such as InterContinental Hotels Group, Hilton, Expedia, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and Accor were instrumental in directing the focus of the research and sponsoring the study.

"Our research reveals that the size of the outbound online travel market in Asia will reach over US$16 Billion by 2006, up from a forecasted US$12.6 Billion at the end of 2004. The largest players are Japan, Australia, South Korea and Taiwan. Singapore's adoption is ahead of Hong Kong at this stage. The China market is also developing in certain cities." said Anthony Venus, Executive Director, Marketshare.

"The Asia Pacific Online Travel Market is extremely fragmented due to different business practices, rules and regulations and market characteristics. InterContinental Hotels Group supported the research initiative as it is the first thorough online travel vertical research covering Asia Pacific, and whilst we have tripled our e-commerce resources in the region these resource are not infinite, so we need to focus these resource in markets where we will get the best returns. At the same time, the research insights have helped to confirm our strategy for the next few months," Said Craig Hewett, Director E-Commerce Asia Pacific, InterContinental Hotels Group.

"One common catalyst is the launch of low cost airlines across Asia. Their business model of online discount fares will be a major driver for growth in online bookings for hotels and travel packages. We saw this very clearly in Australia over the past several years and it is about to become a major driver across Asia." Said Anthony Venus, Executive Director, Marketshare.

"Another major development driving online travel sales in Asia is the development of local language web sites and booking engines. The recently launched Holiday Inn Chinese-language web site has not only encouraged more web-based bookings locally in China but also linked Chinese consumers to Holiday Inn hotels globally," added Craig Hewett.

"The development of the online travel industry is both a demand and a supply side issue. Some markets like South Korea, are ready with the technology and infrastructure, though consumer behavior is still developing. Other markets like China face issues such as lack of credit card penetration, and fewer truly web enabled travel sites. More mature e-commerce markets like Australia and Japan have reached the point of inflection having the required infrastructure, e-commerce consumer behavior and numerous suppliers that have invested significantly in web-enablement for the online travel market to take off."

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