The top five mass market operators have doubled their online hits over the last two years, according to Hitwise figures.

Thomson, Thomas Cook, MyTravel, First Choice and Cosmos have grown their share of industry online visits from 10% in January 2005 to 20% in January 2007.

The top five operators now sell at least 20% of their capacity direct online. Already half Thomson’s sales – more than two million – are made on the Internet, and the company aims to have the leading travel website by summer 2007.

Online travel agencies’ market share has dipped from more than 40% in January 2005 to less than 40% in January 2007. No-frills carriers’ market share has decreased 5% from 35% to 30%.

However, travel director John Bevan, speaking at a Toward Seminar, said the number of travel hits has increased so both online agencies and no-frills airlines received more visitors than in 2005.

Global Travel Group chief executive Andrew Botterill claimed some pure online players, including Expedia and Ebookers, are not profitable while some lesser known independent online agencies are.