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Dealings in electronic travel marketing surpassed 10 billion yen during fiscal 2000, with more than half of the total attributed to domestic hotel inquiries, the nation’s largest travel agency said Thursday.

JTB Corp. sells travel services via 14,000 electronic terminals at convenience stores nationwide and deals in online marketing via the Internet.

Compared with the previous year, activity at the JTB-linked terminals surged 30 percent to 5.5 billion yen, while that over the Internet jumped 57 percent to 4.7 billion yen.

The 10.2 billion yen, however, accounts for less than 1 percent of JTB’s total operations of 1.4 trillion yen.

Electronic activity relating to accommodation has been particularly popular, probably due to its convenience in terms of checking room availability and payment, JTB officials said.

Many in the travel industry predict that direct online marketing of travel-related businesses and voluntary information gathering by travelers could diminish the role of travel agencies.

JTB claimed, however, that the technology has created new demands rather than encroached on the existing travel agency market.

The firm pointed out that 50.9 percent of customers who used the technology accessed the terminals or the Internet service between 5 a.m and 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. and 1 a.m., which are nonbusiness hours at most conventional travel agencies.

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