India is fast becoming a central location in the travel industry, according to a host of recent developments geared around integrating the country within global networks.
Leading online travel agent (OTA) Expedia has this week announced the launch of Expedia.co.in, a branch of the firm’s travel bookings network that is geared exclusively at Indian customers – and takes payment in rupees.
Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive of the OTA, said: "The launch of Expedia India provides us an additional foothold as we continue to invest aggressively in Asia to match the enormous scale and potential of the region."
The site launch is accompanied by the provision of what Expedia claims is a fully localised service featuring an in-country customer care centre, a move marking the importance of India and other growing Asian travel markets such as China within global industry strategies.
Bruce Hanna, president and chief executive of InterGlobe Technology Quotient, the distributor of Galileo, confirmed the trend when he told Indian daily The Economic Times that the global distribution system (GDS) provider had achieved 43 per cent bookings growth in the Indian market.
He claimed that the growing Indian market is showing different trends then others, explaining: "A stark difference is the consumer behaviour. Indian traveller books air tickets at the last minute."