An increasingly wealthy middle class in China travels for pleasure and more and more use credit cards and the Internet for booking.
Chinese Internet research and consulting firm iResearch estimates revenue from online flight, hotel and package tour bookings will hit $695.8 million dollars in 2010, up 27% from last year. And is continuing to balloon.
iResearch said in its latest report, "People’s lifestyle attitudes have changed and their spending ability has improved and people now view holidays as part of a healthy lifestyle."
China Market Research Group senior analyst Ben Cavender estimated online bookings accounted for 8-10% of the market. He said he expects online bookings to make up 15-16% of the total within two years.
According to official figures China has at least 384 million Internet users, more than any other country in the world, and the number of credit cards issued has ballooned.
Yahoo News quotes Cavender who said young professionals between the ages of 24 and 35 living in Beijing and Shanghai were driving demand for flights, hotel rooms and package tours.
"They are by far the most optimistic consumer segment… they are also the ones most comfortable with alternative forms of payment like credit cards," he said.