When talking growth projections - happiness is a low base. M-travel.com and HotelMarketing.com are reporting on numbers out from Euromonitor stating that India is the fastest growing online travel market in Asia- and by reporting growth numbers of 271.6% between now and 2010, presumably the world also. Parita Chitakasem of Euromonitor says that the Indian travel market will be worth US$2b in 2010.
270% plus growth in 4 years sounds fantastic but we need to put $2billion in perspective. The US market in 2006 was in the range of US$70-80mm depending on who you believe, poor cousin Australia is currently in the US$3-4billion range and PhoCusWright put Japan at close to $5billion.
Also it is very important when looking at online market size projections to understand exactly what is meant by online. You would expect that online should mean the whole transaction is completed with only the use of fingers, keyboard, mouse, Internet connection and credit card number. However a lot of markets and researchers include web referred bookings (started online but concluded on the phone/in a store) and pure call centre sales. The latter is especially the case in Chinese numbers.
That all said, US$2billion is a good market size. Though the market seems incredibly daunting with a billion plus people combined with complicated (and often inconsistent) regulation and technology requirements there is the attraction that the main markets both in terms of cities and demographics (ie middle to upper classes) are quite concentrated.
UPDATE - Jared at the Online Travel Review has a nice piece here on the Indian online travel market