Online Bookings Lone Bright Spot in Gloomy Travel Industry Forecast

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​PhoCusWright Inc., a market research firm with offices in Connecticutt, New York and Europe, has found a lone bright spot in a travel industry that will continue to be brutally battered well into 2010: online bookings. 

"The main online travel agencies should benefit from the ongoing secular shift in transactions from traditional points of purchase toward the Internet," says Jack Fuller, the author of what's actually a 2008 market trends study that's been updated for 2009.  

"While we still expect the main players (Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity) to report a decline in 2009 gross bookings (versus 2008), that decline should be in the single digits, versus a double-digit decline for the underlying travel sector," said Fuller, as reported by TravelMole's David Wilkening.

While other travel sectors experience declines the rest of the year, Fuller expects online travel agencies to return to growing by year's end and bookings to be up in 2010. A better-than-expected domestic leisure travel season is apparently helping to lead the charge.

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