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redBus conducted business worth Rs 20 crore in 2007

by Asfaq Tapia

According to a World Travel and Trade Council global report for 2008, India is ranked No 1 for long-term travel growth. The same report pegs the travel industry in India at $74 billion in 2008 and projects it to be $275 billion by 2018. This is a clear indicator of the exciting times that await this sector.

by Asfaq Tapia

According to a World Travel and Trade Council global report for 2008, India is ranked No 1 for long-term travel growth. The same report pegs the travel industry in India at $74 billion in 2008 and projects it to be $275 billion by 2018. This is a clear indicator of the exciting times that await this sector.

The last few years have seen the launch of quite a few Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) which have reduced the customer’s dependence on travel agents while bringing convenience and choice of ticket booking back into the hands of the common man. Online travel retail sales in India are expected to generate in excess of $2 billion in 2008 alone. Small wonder then, that the domain is witnessing hectic activity with investors looking to tap the sector’s potential; case in point being Cleartrip.com, an online travel agency that received $18.5 million in venture funding in April 2008.

A new trend in this space is the emergence of meta search engines that search multiple travel websites and display the best deals to the user. These also aggregate the special deals and display the cheapest offers to the users. OTAs like Ezeego1.com offer a virtual travel marketplace with multiple travel related services like airlines, hotels, tour operators, transporters, insurance companies, Forex (foreign exchange) dealers that cater to business and end users.

Furthermore, companies like redBus.in have taken the off-beat road to allow for booking of bus tickets online. According to Phanindra Sama, CEO of redBus, the company conducted business worth Rs 20 crore during the 2007 calendar year and plans to increase it three-fold this year. They plan on doing this by tapping other segments which are underserved today. Phanindra Sama has said that redBus is not too keen on serving any of the traditional offerings like air tickets, hotels etc.

India will be Asia’s fastest growing market for online travel retail by 2010 ahead of Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and China, according to global market analyst Euromonitor International. According to the report, internet-based travel retail transactions too are projected to increase by an incredible 271 per cent between 2005 and 2010. With industry speculation that Indian Railways is expected to open up online reservation to private parties, the future of the Indian travel industry does look bright.

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