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AirAsia acquires stake in travel planning start-up

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Touristly will operate under the Travel 3Sixty brand, like AirAsia's in-flight magazine
Touristly will operate under the Travel 3Sixty brand, like AirAsia’s in-flight magazine

AirAsia is acquiring a 50% stake in Touristly Travel, the Malaysian online travel planning start-up.

The deal, which will consist of an asset injection and loan valued at MYR11.5 million (US$2.6m), will also see AirAsia’s group CEO Tony Fernandes become chairman of Touristly.

AirAsia will inject the digital platform of its in-flight magazine, Travel 3Sixty, plus its online advertising assets, valued at a total of MYR6.5m, into Touristly. This will immediately allow the start-up to reach an audience of 60m guests annually.

The remaining value of the deal will be in the form of a MYR5m loan. Following the deal, Touristly will operate under the Travel 3Sixty brand.

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“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,” said Fernandes.

“Working with AirAsia has been on our minds since our inception,” revealed Touristly’s CEO, Aaron Sarma. “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,” he added.

In May 2016, Touristly successfully raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the Tune Group, which is headed by Fernandes, as part of its start-up incubator, Tune Labs.

Touristly was also one of two start-ups selected in June 2016 to represent Malaysia at Pitch@Palace Global, the global tech start-up event held at St James Palace in London in December 2016.

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