North America will soon be losing its crown to the Asia-Pacific as the most valuable digital travel region. Predictions indicate digital travel sales in Asia-Pacific will surpass North America as early as 2017.
According to a new eMarketer report, customers in Asia-Pacific will spend a projected $216 billion next year, compared to North America’s $200 billion, representing growth of 23 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Digital travel includes everything from booking online flights to hotels and tours.
Feeling the drift, several companies are being proactive. CNBC reported that Airbnb received funding to expand in India recently, while Ctrip, a travel services company, bought stake in Indian online travel agency, MakeMyTrip.
“The biggest opportunities for companies and startups will be in mobile and online travel agencies, as both will expand their share of online bookings,” eMarketer analyst Chris Bendtsen told CNBC. “For China in particular, the growing number of international travelers will allow travel-related companies all over the world to benefit from increased digital sales.”
South China Morning Post reported that China was the region’s largest source of holidaymakers and business travellers. It pointed out that digital travel sales in the Asia-Pacific region will be $177.66 billion this year.