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Thursday, July 30, 2009

NEWS LTD: AUSTRALIANS PREFER THE WEB TO TRAVEL AGENTS


A national survey of 12,000 people has revealed that more than 73% of Australians prefer to book their domestic flights online while only 16% prefer to use travel agents.

However, when it comes to overseas trips, only 35% of Australians book their flights online with 44% using travel agents.

The survey was conducted by News Limited as part of the relaunch of its expanded new national travel section, Escape. Run through the escape.com.au website, the survey reveals some interesting facts about Australians and their passion for travel.

In addition, the internet is also becoming a valuable tool for travel research, as increasingly, travellers use the net to investigate where they want to go. 80% of respondents said they used the internet when deciding where to go, 68% used a newspaper travel section, 67% used friends and family, 58% used brochures and 56% used television programs.

The three main reasons for using a travel agent included the superior knowledge of travel agents, helpful staff and having a single point of contact.

The relaunched Escape section will appear weekly in News Limited metropolitan newspapers from this Sunday and online at escape.com.au, where there will be regularly updated blogs and travel news.

Escape is about inspiring readers and helping to make travel dreams a reality. It is about understanding reader wants and needs – and then delivering them the information they need to make the journey as easy, and memorable, as possible.

The section will be edited by Brian Crisp, the Travel Editor of The Courier-Mail. During his career in journalism, Brian has held senior news positions in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, where he was editor of The Sunday Times. He has been the Travel Editor at The Courier-Mail for five years. Brian sees part of his job as road testing holidays for his readers – making sure they get the best value for money.

Brian will head up a team of writers and travel experts across Australia, addressing more than just destination-based travel.  Regular sections will include favourite travel spots from international celebrities, plus contributions from well-known writers and journalists.

The new section will explore travel trends and be deals oriented. Escape's relaunch includes an expansion of the brand to a cross-platform model with a significant online component. The printed section will run in The Sunday Telegraph (NSW), Sunday Herald Sun (VIC), The Sunday Mail (QLD), the Sunday Mail (SA), The Sunday Times (WA), and The Sunday Tasmanian (TAS) and additional content will be online at escape.com.au.

Alan Oakley, Editor, National Features for News Ltd, said that Escape's research showed Australians were looking for value-based information as well as aspirational travel writing.

"Our focus will be on enticing readers with excellent travel journalism and then telling people how they can experience each destination in the most cost-effective way. There's is a real appetite for holiday deals, and we'll ensure that Escape is the number one destination for value travel from day one," said Mr Oakley.

Sunday's first issue of Escape will be looking at Great Drives around Australia and readers will have the opportunity to win one of 13 Family Holiday Travel Packages from Accor Vacation Club and Virgin Blue.


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