If investor interest is any indication, online travel is taking off in the East: Yatra Online, a Mumbai based online travel firm created by the minds behind European firm Ebookers, has just secured $5 million in funding from Norwest Venture Parnters, Reliance Capital Ltd and the Television 18 Group (a broadcasting concern).
Yatra offers the standard online travel fare to consumers via its Web site and mobile devices, including reservations from airlines, hotels, car rentals and trains—but it plans to capitalize on a booming Indian travel market that is expected to grow 20% each year within the next five years. According to Reuters, in 2006 the Indian travel market will be worth nearly $40 billion; by 2009 that number will have risen to $50 billion. And by 2015 we can expect to see revenue from foreign travelers sitting at about $24 billion—four times more than is currently the case.
Yatra’s $5 million in funding is the second major influx of cash into the Indian travel market of late: last year, makemytrip.com received a larger $10 million investment from the Softbank Asia Infrastructure Fund Partners.