A new PhoCusWright report, “Emerging Online Travel Marketplace in China,” predicts that travel in China will expand to become a $65 billion industry by 2011, and that 20% percent of that market will be online.
Where opportunities lie in that growth, and what kinds of companies might be positioned to seize them was one topic of discussion at the recent China Travel Distribution Summit, hosted by China Travel Daily at the OCT Interlaken Resort in Shenzhen (shown here) in December.
Sandeep Bahl, general manager of China for Delta-Northwest Airlines at that meeting said, “You can see that online booking is growing, and people are ready to travel.” He added that he expects support from Beijing to boost the market. “The government in China has recognized tourism as a pillar.”
Experts at the conference said online booking may be growing, but for a well-established foreign company to make its mark in China’s online travel space remains a difficult task.
William Bao Bean, a partner at venture capital firm Softbank China & India Holdings said, “Every single Internet company that has entered the China market has failed.”
4 Hoteliers reported that one delegate said adaptability and willingness to really listen to local partners are key to realizing return on investments in China’s travel industry.