Middle East: Online bookings set to soar

WA beach skyMay 4 (TravelAndy): Online travel booking will climb to as much as 36 per cent of the total travel bookings made in the Middle East by 2017, suggests a research conducted by Travelport, a travel commerce platform.

Offline sales will not lag behind and will grow from USD54 billion in 2014 to USD63 billion in 2017, it adds.

“This research on the future of the Middle East travel industry coincides with the theme of this year’s Arabian Travel Market, which is technological innovation. The Middle East travel industry is buoyant and poised for growth,” Rabih Saab, the platform’s president and managing director for Africa, Middle East and South Asia, reportedly said.

Arabian Travel Market, which is the Middle East’s biggest travel and tourism event, is being held in Dubai and will continue till May 7.

With the emergence of young middle class travellers in the region, hybrid travel agents — dealing with both offline and online booking — have grown in number. In UAE, 72 per cent of the leisure travellers search for online bookings, but only 34 per cent actually purchase their bookings online. With migration from desktop to tablet and smart phone, the researchers are predicting a mobile breakthrough in the online travel sector.

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