The travel industry in Australia has undergone tremendous change in the past decade, but industry experts are now looking to the future to ensure preparations are made to meet growth and changing demands.

Speaking at the ?Tourism Directions and Distribution? conference in Sydney yesterday, CEO AOT Group, Andrew Burnes predicted just two major retail chains, Flight Centre and Stella Group, and two online producers, and Flight Centre will be in business in 2012.

Mr Burnes said he expected 10,000 + other online sites, global wholesalers and online players selling Australia globally in five years? time.

?Packages will come back because distributors will link flight and ground product to create opaquely and dynamically priced packages,? Mr Burnes said.

He also said supplier sites would decrease from 81 per cent to 71 per cent, and traditional travel agencies would increase from 5 to 8 per cent, as well as online agencies growing from 14 to 18 per cent.

?The dominant channel will depend on what and who. Retailers will have to convince customers that they add value to stay in the game, but they have to play a role mainly for the PC unable,? Mr Burnes said.

Consumers are likely to become more demanding with purchasing travel products, and will be ready to pay for better service.

Mr Burnes said aggregators will become increasingly important, and warned that each company must have a back office system with XML connectivity in the next 18 months or ?you?ll miss out until you get it?.

?Principles who think they can try and preserve online as their exclusive domain and who try and cut their channel partners from multi-channel distribution options by providing traditional source only rates need to start thinking again,? he said.

Mr Burnes labelled the practice as ?anti-competitive? saying channel partners will not continue to support those types of principles.