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Online travel in Saudi Arabia to exceed $1.9bn in 2014

Travelport unveils 2014 strategic priorities to support exponential travel industry

The online travel industry in Saudi Arabia is developing at a rapid rate with online bookings expected to exceed $1.9bn in 2014, according to Travelport co-sponsored research. According to the study* – carried out by global travel market research company PhoCusWright – web sales in Saudi Arabia are forecasted to nearly double since 2011, when the online travel sector was valued at $1bn.

“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.”

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 emphasise the company’s focus on Saudi Arabia as a strategic commercial region. Specifically, next year Travelport will:
• Introduce a range of new technology solutions.  Shortly, Travelport will 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.
• Focus on online technologies – 2014 will see the launch of the next generation Travelport View Trip Mobile – Travelport’s 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.
• Continue to invest in Saudi Arabia’s travel trade – Travelport is already using its product range, regional expertise and market knowledge to help further develop Saudi Arabia’s travel trade through cutting-edge technologies, educational industry events and sharing of its professional expertise.
• 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.”

* The study, called “Assessing the Online Travel Opportunity: The Middle East”, was carried out across 10 Middle East Countries involving UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman and looks at online travel trends in the region between 2010 and 2014.

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