Online travel booking soars in China

Online travel booking soars in China

Market leader now selling almost a million air tickets a month

Ctrip, China's largest online travel agent, reported a 55 per cent rise in net revenues in the third quarter.

The increase to $46m in revenues was driven by particularly strong growth in air ticket sales, the company announced.

"Our team has executed our strategies effectively to expand into new geographic areas, enhance customer service levels and strengthen our product lines," said Ctrip chief executive Min Fan.

Profits for the quarter reached $18m, an increase of 68 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Ctrip sold an average of almost a million air tickets a month during the quarter. Travellers paid a total of $18m for the tickets, a 76 per cent year-on-year increase.
Hotel reservation revenues were also up sharply over the year, showing a 40 per cent increase to $23m.

While domestic travel is still the main revenue source for firms like Ctrip, China's citizens are finding overseas tourism more attractive as the country's currency strengthens relative to the US dollar.

"We have seen an increase of 10 to 15 per cent in outbound tourism," one travel industry executive told the China Daily in September.

Ctrip announced last month that it would cooperate with China's leading search engine, Baidu, to sell its travel services to users of Baidu's map website.