The business of online travel agents seems to have taken wings on the back of huge fundings supplied by venture capitalist (VC) firms and a booming aviation sector.

Unlike the dotcom bubble at the turn of the millennium, online travel ventures like 'Makemytrip.com', 'Travelguru.com' and 'Yatra.com' seem poised to replicate the success of their overseas peers like 'Travelocity', 'Orbitz' and 'Expedia', in the Indian market which is expected to grow at 25-30 per cent per annum.

Makemytrip has, in the last year of operations, notched up a turnover of USD 50 million and in FY 07, its CEO Deep Kalra, expects the figures to more than double.

"Last year, we earned revenues under USD 50 million but this fiscal we hope to earn about USD 120 million," he told reporters.

The site has, itself, secured an investment of USD 10 million from SB Asia Infrastructure Fund (SAIF), of which about 40 per cent has been deployed to boost the growth momentum.

On a similar growth trajectory is travelguru, founded by Harvard graduate Ashwin Damera, who launched the site with a funding of USD 10 million by Westbridge Capital (now Sequoia Capital), that had in the past backed ventures like Google.

"Though it would be another 12-15 months before we see profits, we hope to clock a revenue of USD 20 million this year," says Ashwin.

He is also confident that the venture capital partners will support his firm throughout.

Earlier this month yatra.com, a venture promoted by Reliance Capital, Norwest Venture Partners and TV 18, too began operations.

The venture has been promoted by Dhruv Shringi and Manish Amin, the duo behind 'Ebookers', an online travel website which was acquired in a buy-out deal by Cendant for USD 410 million in 2004.

"We are not the first in the market and we will not be the last, but we are confident of cornering a significant marketshare," said Dhruv, who feels the company will capture about a 25 per cent share in the medium to long-term horizon.

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