Expedia launches Indian operations

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New Delhi, Mar 9 (UNI) With the country's online travel booking business expected to touch six billion dollars by 2010, leading global online portal Expedia.com launched its Indian website.

''Indian online travel market is estimated to be worth over two billion dollars for 2007-08 and is growing rapidly. Online media contributes 11 per cent to the total travel sales and is growing and we see India as a great market,'' Expedia India Managing Director Sharat Dhali told reporters here.

The company will focus on Indian travelling abroad as it believes the segment has great potential and is not well-catered.

Expedia's customers will be able to book airplane tickets, hotels and even customise their trips, he added.

The company also owns the portals, Hotels.com, Hotwire, eLong and Tripadvisor.com, which will also be brought into serving the Indian clientele.

Apart from planning international trips, Expedia will also focus on the already-crowded domestic travel planning space. ''The domestic vertical will also be looked into, though specifying a timeframe is not possible,'' Mr Dhali said.

The company, which is globally aggressive in acquistions, is also open to opportunities in the country.

The company's global reveues stood at 2.5 billion dollars, with 500 million dollars coming in from the Asia-Pacific region alone.

''We are confident of India becoming a major market for us and we will gain the top position here, as we have done globally,'' Mr Dhali said.

UNI SR AK BD1944

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