Smartphones have tangibly changed the way world operated before their arrival. Earlier, when the market operated through Internet connection on personal computers, things were a tad bit slow since that category came from a different class altogether. But today, things are available at a cursory glance, and literally at fingertips. All the best things are happening on the Internet, and guess what they are ensuring—is that consumer is truly the king of the market!

An average Indian earlier travelled within the confines of his country, and those travels were mostly to relatives or to places of religious/spiritual importance. But today, an average Indian is well-travelled, adequately informed about different cultures and has a huge appetite for adventure tourism; no matter what it involves.

A wary traveler today has transformed into an informed traveler, thanks to the Internet. Potential of online travel market is the highest in India, which has broken all barriers, and will continue with its winning spree for more time to come.

Get this. Travel market comprises a total of 71% of e-commerce in India. That means this is the decisive share of market that would change the rules of e-commerce game and its success in the coming days. It is important to note that this business has grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32% between the years 2009 and 2013. Online travel sales that were studied from the beginning of this decade, projected that the sector would grow at a rate of 30% in India. Among all other Asian countries, India is on top of the list of nations that would open its doors to travel and tourism in the online segment.

This is followed by South Korea, with growth projection at 19.8%, and Brazil at 18.2% and China ranking fourth at 14.1%.
Though, India is much behind US and China in terms of numbers, the increased Internet penetration and number of smartphone users on the rise hold some hope for the days to come.

Some of the popular names such as Makemytrip.com, Cleartrip.com, Yatra.com hold more than 85% of the total market share in the sector.

What drove this growth at a lightning speed that has managed to get the domestic and international travel market into its kitty? Some of the predictable and understandable aspects are increased penetration of computers, smartphones and other gadgets that aid the use of technology/Internet. Perhaps, it would be interesting to note that India, of all the other third world countries—despite its rising population, inflation and other challenges—has remained steadfast on economy with no tangible threat.

The most trusted government agencies such as bus and railways have also been riding on this wave, having set up user-friendly online platforms that can help people with both information and travel plans. Aviation industry, despite being in the red for the last few years, is still witnessing a great time with economy holding up.

Private players are leveraging on the trend that indicates high disposable income, reduced age of average travelers, and adventure tourism that is gradually catching up against the conventional travel patterns.

Though medical tourism cannot be considered as a significant part of the travel segment, it does contribute well into the travel and tourism revenues generated by the sector. In fact, it brings two kinds of returns that are significant and substantial since people travelling in this category are usually from upper middle class.

Only if the travel and tourism segment pays adequate attention towards nullifying commission costs on airlines, introduce better perks and tangible benefits, while cutting down on high operating costs, the segment will turn into a huge revenue generating arm for the government’s exchequer.

Sports tourism is another off-shoot of tourism market that is beginning to catch fancy of the Indian middle class. However, as a note of caution, it is important to remember that the sector right now, that is exclusive for online presence of travel and tourism, is highly fragmented and distributed unevenly in only urban areas.

If the technology can get into tier-II cities and get down further into untapped markets, it can sure reap heavy benefits from sections of the society that have remained untouched so far.

source : business insider