Travelstart declares growth despite the recession,
South Africa’s biggest online travel price comparison and booking website, today
reported a 70% increase in online travel sales for 2009.

The company’s growth, recorded in a year littered with
financial gloom and dismal global tourism growth figures, is a sure indication
that, despite these challenges, online bookings is becoming more popular
amongst South African travellers.

“We are naturally very pleased with our growth here in South
Africa and believe that we will see an even bigger increase in figures for
2010, not only because we will be hosting the 2010 World Cup, but also because
South African’s are fast becoming more reliant on the internet to research and
plan travel.

“We saw a huge influx of new business from travellers who
would normally have done their travel bookings at traditional high street
travel agencies. They are finding
it more convenient, and in most cases, cheaper to research and compare flights,
hotels and car rental online. I
predict that there will be no high street agencies left five years from now,”
says Stephan Ekbergh, CEO and founder of Travelstart.

South Africa seems to be following the online travel booking
trend of more established internet markets such as the US and Western
Europe. In these markets, more
than 40% of all hospi.jpgtality revenue is generated on the internet. In the US, 84% of travel research and
planning is conducted online. The
introduction of cheaper bandwidth locally will make the internet more accessible
to South African’s and this is expected to dramatically drive online sales.

Online agencies such as Travelstart offer travellers the
opportunity to instantly compare prices and itineraries for all airlines
travelling to specific routes.
This allows travellers to act as their own travel agents and to book
their travel at their own convenience, without having to wait in queues. Travelstart has also harnessed the
power of social networking by creating a community of travel-minded fans who
follow the company on Facebook, Twitter and through its blog.

“Our aim will always be to find ways to make the travel
booking process easier and more fun for our customers. The future of travel is on the
internet, so whether consumers prefer connecting to the internet on their pc’s
or mobile phones, they will always find Travelstart there, making the process
easy and fun,” concludes Ekbergh.

For more info contact:

Therése Jonsson 021
468 4380 / 076 262 8442 /

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