SEPANG, 19 April 2017 – AirAsia Berhad is acquiring a 50% stake in online travel planner Touristly Travel Sdn Bhd (Touristly) through an asset injection and loan deal valued at RM11.5 million.
The transaction will see AirAsia Berhad inject the digital platform of its Travel 3Sixty inflight magazine, valued at RM6.5 million, into Touristly via AirAsia Investments Ltd and extend a RM5 million convertible loan to Touristly for working capital and development.
The digital platform comprises the online brand for the Travel 3Sixty inflight magazine, touchpoints on airasia.com and online advertising assets, which will allow the startup to reach AirAsia’s 60 million guests annually.
Touristly will also gain access to offline advertising assets, including the physical version of the inflight magazine, overhead cabins and seat trays on AirAsia aircraft.
In addition, AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes will serve as Chairman of the Board for Touristly upon completion of the acquisition.
The deal will strengthen AirAsia’s ancillary portfolio by offering its guests on-ground activities such as restaurants, theme parks, attractions, spas and tours at more than 70 destinations that the airline operates to.
Touristly CEO Aaron Sarma said, “Working with AirAsia has been on our minds since our inception. The insight we can gain from AirAsia’s 15 years in the travel industry will help us better understand the Asia Pacific market and quickly adapt to deliver real value to our customers. Our dream was to help travellers to Asia Pacific find amazing things to do in the region and we’re truly excited about this opportunity to be able to share our platform with more people.”
AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said, “We see enormous potential in Touristly, which perfectly complements AirAsia’s existing travel offering. Our guests will be able to choose from thousands of activities when purchasing a flight and this brings us a step closer to becoming a truly one-stop digital airline.”
In May 2016, Touristly successfully raised an undisclosed pre-Series A round from Tune Group startup incubator Tune Labs, headed by Fernandes, Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and Lim Kian Onn.
Touristly was also one of two startups selected at Pitch@Palace Malaysia in June 2016 to represent the country at Pitch@Palace Global, which was held at St James Palace in London, UK in December 2016.
Touristly is a trip planner that lets travellers customise their holidays with ease. Launched in June 2015, the platform aims to eliminate the process of scouring various websites and apps for the best deals by providing a one-stop shop for travellers looking for on-location activities. A central feature is the interactive trip planner that allows travellers to curate their own holidays with thousands of deals available on the platform, share their itineraries and book them with just a click of a button. Touristly currently features over 13,000 deals on tours, attractions, theme parks, activities, spas and restaurants in 70 destinations around Asia Pacific, with more destinations and tours to be added.
Touristly is a recipient of investment funding from Netrove Ventures Group and Tune Labs. They are also a recipient of Cradle Fund’s Cradle Investment Programme 500 (CIP500), is a part of Cradle’s Coach and Grow Programme, and is an alumnus of the Duke of York’s Pitch@Palace.
AirAsia, the leading and largest low-cost carrier in Asia by passengers, services an extensive network of over 120 destinations. Since starting operations in 2001, AirAsia has carried more than 330 million guests and has grown its fleet from just two aircraft to over 200. The airline is proud to be a truly Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) airline with operations based in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines as well as India and Japan, servicing a network stretching across Asia, Australia and New Zealand and the Middle East. AirAsia has been named the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline at the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards eight times in a row from 2009 to 2016. AirAsia was also awarded World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline for the fourth consecutive year at the 2016 World Travel Awards, where it also beat a field of full-service carriers to become the first ever low-cost carrier to win World’s Leading Inflight Service.