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Despite stalled growth in China, Brazil and Russia, a wave of newly middle-class travelers from the BRICs and beyond will start visiting international destinations in the coming decades — dwarfing the numbers we’ve seen thus far.
Tours and activities are indeed a huge potential market, but it is highly fragmented and still mostly offline. There is a substantial upside when the market catches up with the mobile revolution.
In 2011, a PhoCusWright study of the U.S. tours and activities market pegged its size at $27 billion, although only a fraction of the highly fragmented market would be addressable by tours and activities companies.
Similarly in Europe, the report, When They Get There (and Why They Go): Activities, Attractions, Events and Tours in Europe, estimates that only 25% of tours and activities transactions in the five largest European countries were processed online in 2012, but that percentage would rise to 30% in 2015.
That provides plenty of upside for tours and activities companies such as Viator and GetYourGuide, although it could be slow-going until travelers get the ability to book these tours using their mobile devices and there is real-time availability when travelers are already positioned at their destinations.