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Online travel bookings to pass $1.9 billion in Saudi Arabia

Kingdom to ‘witness significant growth’ next year

The online travel industry in Saudi Arabia is developing at a rapid rate, with bookings expected to exceed $1.9 billion in 2014, according to Travelport’s co-sponsored research.

The study, conducted by PhoCusWright, predicts that web sales in the kingdom will nearly double next year, when compared with 2011 when the online travel sector was valued at $1bn.

The report, Assessing the Online Travel Opportunity: The Middle East, looks at online travel trends across ten Middle Eastern countries, such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, between 2010 and 2014.

“The online travel industry across the whole of the Middle East region is growing at an unprecedented rate and the significant growth that we are witnessing in Saudi Arabia is a further testament to this,” says Rabih Saab, president and managing director MEA at 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 adds.

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

To support the continuous development of Saudi Arabia’s online and traditional travel sectors, Travelport unveiled its key business priorities for 2014 – all of which emphasise the company’s focus on the kingdom as a strategic commercial region. Travelport is also readying the launch of its Smartpoint 3.0, which is a next generation desktop solution for travel agents, along with the Travelport View Trip Mobile – its itinerary management tool – due to the rapid growth of online space in Saudi Arabia.