Airasia Acquires 50% Stake In Malaysian Travel Planning Start-up Touristly

Budget airline AirAsia has bought 50 percent of trip planning service Touristly in a deal worth US$2.6 million.

In exchange for the stake, AirAsia will extend a US$1.1 million convertible loan to Touristly and transfer the digital component of its inflight magazine, Travel 3Sixty, to the start-up. The asset is worth US$1.5 million.

Kuala Lumpur-based Touristly will use the proceeds of the loan for “working capital and development,” it says in a statement. It will also “own 100 percent of Travel 3Sixty digital after the completion of the deal.”

Touristly’s founders won’t get a cash payout from the acquisition, but it “positions the company for greater success and further exit opportunities in the coming months,” a spokesperson said.

Founded in 2015, Touristly helps travellers customize their holidays, allowing them to book activities in 70 destinations around Asia-Pacific. It offers over 13,000 discounted deals on tours, attractions, theme parks, spas, and restaurants.

With the alliance, Touristly will tap into AirAsia’s customer base of 60 million travellers annually through promotions on the airline’s website, its inflight magazine and ads on its cabins and seat trays. In return, AirAsia hopes to grow its revenue from ancillary services by adding tours and activities.

Those extra services – from checked baggage, preferred seating and in-flight meals to wifi and redemption of miles – are proving to be a lifeline for low-cost carriers amid stiff competition in the region.

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes will serve as chairman of Touristly upon completion of the transaction. Startup incubator Tune Labs, headed by Tony, was an investor in Touristly’s pre-series A round in May last year.

Source: Tech In Asia