Record Growth in Business
MEDIA RELEASE FOR TRAVELSTART January 2010
Growth of online travel increases despite global economic downturn Travelstart.co.za, 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 hospitality 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.
Travelstart is a global online booking site that allows you to act as your own travel agent. At www.travelstart.co.za customers can search and book flights, hotel, cars and holiday packages in a safe and convenient way from home. Travelstart’s aim is to offer the best prices in a transparent manner and to provide a superior customer experience.
Travelstart was founded and established in Sweden by CEO Stephan Ekbergh in 1999. Today Travelstart is a global company with presence in 10 markets, with its South African office located in the heart of Cape Town, CDB.