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Online travel explodes in Latin America

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Nur Bremmen: Staff reporter
Nur is an enigma with a passion for creating words. He recently entered a love affair with technology and chorizo sausages. He travels a lot -- you... More

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Online travel is big business in Latin America and it’s only going to get bigger as internet penetration increases across the region.

In fact, a recent study by Barclays Capital suggests that it will lead the world when it comes to online travel growth through to 2016, increasing by more than 30% through 2013.

Online sales growth

The interesting thing is the degree to which online travel sales growth is eclipsing that of the travel industry as a whole. While travel sales are set to grow six percent this year, online travel sales are likely to grow by as much as 35%, following a 38% gain in 2011.

That said, the growth does come from an incredibly small user base. As online research company eMarketer reports, online travel sales in the whole of Latin America will only reach one-tenth of those in the US this year.

By next year however Latin America will surpass Asia-Pacific in terms of online as a percentage of total travel sales.

By 2013, the number of internet users in Latin America will also have reach 278-million, overtaking North America and Europe for the first time. In the largest markets in the region, people visit a travel site at least once.

Thing is, people are spending half as much time on those sites as they do in more mature markets and, according to eMarketer, “Latin America trails the worldwide average travel site reach by seven percent”.