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Internet presence essential for destination marketers as more Indians source travel information online

Internet presence essential for destination marketers as more Indians source travel information online ( With over half of Indian travelers using the Internet to search for information about destinations aboard, travel operators and tourist bodies need an effective online presence if they are to capture India's early adopters and increasingly-affluent travelers, according to the latest India Outbound Travel Monitor conducted by The Nielsen Company in partnership with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

The survey shows that, while traditional media such as newspapers and magazines remain the primary source for travel advertising and information for many, the Internet has become a popular advertising channel - drawing greater attention among Indian outbound travelers. The online platform is also gaining in popularity among travelers from India's smaller cities.

“The convenience of comparing prices and easy access to more detailed information makes the Internet a popular go-to source for travelers," said Vatsala Pant, associate director - client service, The Nielsen Company, India. “An effective online presence ensures optimal deployment of marketing strategies, yet a standard online advertising may not be enough to capture the attention of increasingly technology-savvy Indian travelers.

Oliver Martin, associate director, Strategic Intelligence Centre, PATA, said, “It is critical for marketers to establish an early presence online, as well as developing an effective engagement model with their target travelers long before they start actively planning their trips."

Conducted using face-to-face interviews with a fully-structured questionnaire during July - August 2008, the Nielsen India Outbound Travel Monitor is a nationwide study surveying 2,000 male and female consumers aged 18+ who have traveled outside India in the last 12 months and stayed at least two nights away from home. The Monitor studies traveler behavior, attitudes, and opinions about traveling and provides insight into decision making processes, information sourcing, booking choices, accommodation, and more.

While the majority continues to turn to conventional channels - travel agents and tour operators - for their travel arrangements, Indian outbound travelers (12 percent) are increasingly booking their travel online. “India's outbound travel market is recognized as one of the key emerging sources of tourism for the world, and as Internet penetration and adoption of the web as a commercial channel increases, so will online travel bookings," added Pant.

According to Nielsen, Nepal, Singapore, and Thailand are the most popular destinations for online bookings among Indian travelers. “It would seem that, for many, face to face interaction with a bricks-and-mortar travel agent is still preferred to the ease of booking over the internet. Relationships established with travel agents and the trust that has been built with an offline entity over the years win out over the fear of the unseen or unknown," said Vatsala Pant.

Jayashree Janardhanan The Nielsen Company India Email: Tel: +91 22 6663 2825 or +91 983 395 2084 Oliver Martin PATA Email: Tel: +66 2 658 2000 or +66 81 908 8638

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