Boom time for online travel firms

| January 23, 2019

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China’s online tourism sector is witnessing a boom, and firms in the business are growing rapidly, on the back of Chinese wanderlust.To exploit the emerging opportunities, online travel agencies (OTAs) are offering new, customised products and services.They are encouraged by the fact that last year the market scale of OTAs reached 1.08 trillion yuan ($160 billion), adding 30 per cent year-on-year and hitting a record high, according to a report released by market consultancy ASKCI Consulting Co.Last year, Chinese travellers spent $762 per person abroad, exceeding the $276 spent by non-Chinese travellers. By 2023, Chinese travellers are expected to spend nearly $1,334 per person annually on overseas trips, according to a report released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences this month.Sensing a maturing market, existing players have started consolidating or expanding their operations. In fact, the market itself is seeing a bit of restructuring as the number of players gets rationalised, with a few major firms set to dominate proceedings from now on.Five OTAs hold the key to the fortunes of Chinese tourism as they command a collective 80 per cent market share.Ctrip is the industry’s main player. In October 2015, it swallowed up Qunar, a travel firm that was beginning to find traction.

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