Saudi Arabia's online travel industry to exceed $1.9bn in 2014, shows study

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The online travel industry in Saudi Arabia is developing at a rapid rate with online bookings expected to exceed $1.9 billion in 2014, according to Travelport co-sponsored study titled “Assessing the Online Travel Opportunity: The Middle East”.

The study, carried out by global travel market research company PhoCusWright, showed that Web sales in Saudi Arabia are forecasted to nearly double since 2011, when the online travel sector was valued at $1 billion.

“The online travel industry across the whole of the Middle East is growing at an unprecedented rate, and the significant growth we are witnessing in Saudi Arabia is further testament to this,” said Rabih Saab, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Travelport.

“At Travelport we work closely with travel agents and airlines to help them meet these demands by offering broader content through faster distribution and sharing our expertise so they can firmly establish themselves in this rapidly evolving industry sector,” he added.

The research also shows the rapid development of Saudi Arabia’s travel industry as a whole, estimating that by 2014 the country’s travel trade will be worth $11.4bn compared to $9.8bn in 2011.

To support the continuous development of Saudi Arabia’s online and traditional travel sectors, Travelport has unveiled its key business priorities for 2014 – all of which emphasize the company’s focus on Saudi Arabia as a strategic commercial region.

Travelport will introduce a range of new technology solutions next year, and will shortly launch Travelport Smartpoint 3.0 – its next generation desktop solution for travel agents.

In addition, the company will continue the roll-out of Travelport Merchandising Platform, pioneering technology for airline distribution, and its leading edge Travelport Universal API – the industry’s first truly universal API, giving travel agents access to a world of content and functionality through a single API connection.

Travelport will launch in 2014 the next generation Travelport View Trip Mobile, its itinerary management tool.

With the online space developing at such a rapid rate in Saudi Arabia, Travelport will continue to invest in online technologies to complement existing products already available to the local trade such as Travelport Mobile Agent, which enables agents to gain GDS access to via a smartphone or a tablet.

Travelport will continue to invest in Saudi Arabia’s travel trade.

Further strengthen its team in Saudi Arabia – in 2014, Travelport will continue to grow its dedicated team in Saudi Arabia, with a specific focus on remote regions.

Since the start of 2013, Travelport has already recruited five new Key Account Sales Executives, as well as added more senior level support to its leadership team.

“Travelport has a long history in Saudi Arabia spanning over 20 years and this remains a key strategic region for us,” added Saab. “This year, we have continued to grow our footprint across Saudi Arabia and through our solid product and business stagey in 2014, we will continue to develop our regional presence and address the ever evolving needs of our customers.”

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.

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