Expedia starts India operations

New Delhi, March 6: | Updated: Mar 6 2008, 20:57pm hrs
US-based travel services provider Expedia on Thursday started its India operations targeted at outbound tourists in the 1.75 billion-dollar online travel market.

The company which aims to become the number one online travel services provider in the country, also plans to offer domestic travel packages to inbound tourists soon.

"Online travel bookings are just 11 per cent of the total 16 billion-dollar travel market in India but is expected to grow exponentially in the next five years. We are banking on this growth and want to make India one of our major markets globally," Expedia India Managing Director Sharat Dhall said in New Delhi.

He said over nine million Indians travel abroad every year but only a few make reservations online. The company is positioning itself to provide a one-stop solution to all outbound tourists from India through its website Expedia.co.in.

The Indian online travel market is the fifth biggest in Asia and is likely to become one of the top three in the continent over the next five years and touch six billion dollars in terms of revenues.

Expedia is also open to acquiring existing online travel players in the country to strengthen its foothold here. "We are open to inorganic routes of growth. We would definitely look at takeovers as and when something interesting comes our way," Dhall said.

The company has also started offline travel booking services for Indian travellers through a toll-free number.