Clouds of uncertainty may hang over the European and global economies, but China has been “a shining light for travel”, a new report says. China's travel market has undergone explosive growth and will nearly double between 2008 and 2013. A new “Asia Pacific and Global Edition” report by travel research company PhoCusWright reveals that surging demand for travel products, along with significant commitments to the online space by some of the country's biggest e-commerce and internet players are driving phenomenal growth in China's travel industry, while other markets around the world have yet to fully shake off the effects of the recession.
Travel bookings in China will surpass US$105 billion in 2013, the report says, of which more than $15 billion will be made online. The online travel market will grow by 500% between 2008 and 2013, fuelled by rapid adoption of the internet for commerce and a range of high-profile investments and partnerships among the country's leading internet and online travel firms. Last year, for example, Baidu, the country's dominant search engine, became the majority shareholder in Qunar, the leading travel metasearch and trip-planning site, while leading online services provider Tencent and e-commerce giant Alibaba, among others, have invested aggressively in online travel.
[pictured: Chunxi Street, Chengdu]