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Security fears are holding Brits back from buying holidays online, preventing the industry from fully benefiting from the lower sales costs associated with Internet transactions.

Around half of bargain-hunting Brits could be persuaded to book their holidays online if there was a bigger online discounts, a recent survey sponsored by IT services firm LogicaCMG out reveals. But one in five of 1,700 users quizzed in the online survey would hesitate about booking trips online because of mistrust of the ability of travel companies to keep their financial and personal details secure. Around one in 10 said a simpler transaction process might encourage them to use online sites instead of high street travel agents. Research company Tickbox.net carried out the survey for LogicaCMG.

The online travel market is expected to reach 17 per cent of the total UK travel market (£28bn) by 2007, according to the Association of British Travel Agents. LogicaCMG says that more needs to be done to boost consumer confidence if the online travel market is to reach its potential. Earlier findings from the same survey revealed that one in 20 consumers had noticed attempts at fraud or ID theft while shopping online.

"Over a million UK consumers have already been victims of security breaches whilst carrying out online transactions. Because of fears about Internet security, more consumers are using the Internet for researching than actually booking their travel online," says Dave Martin, principal security consultant at LogicaCMG. "This is having a major impact on travel industry profits: every phone booking can cost a company around £30 whereas an online booking can cost a company less than 75 pence. This is the reason why many travel companies now impose surcharges for non-Internet bookings." ®

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