AirAsia is taking a half share in online travel planner Touristly through an asset injection and loan deal valued at RM11.5 million (£2 million).
The deal will see the Malaysian budget carrier inject the digital platform of its Travel 3Sixty in-flight magazine, valued at RM6.5 million, into Touristly and extend a RM5 million convertible loan to 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 start-up to reach AirAsia’s 60 million annual passengers.
The agreement will strengthen AirAsia’s ancillary portfolio by offering passengers access to activities such as restaurants, theme parks, attractions, spas and tours at more than 70 destinations that the airline operates to.
Touristly will also gain access to offline advertising assets, including the physical version of the in-flight magazine, overhead cabins and seat trays on AirAsia aircraft.
AirAsia Group chief executive, Tony Fernandes, will serve as chairman of the board for Touristly upon completion of the deal.
Touristly chief executive 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.”
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.”
Touristly raised an undisclosed pre-Series A round last May 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, last December.