Amadeus Capital-backed Travelstart has signed a deal to secure a 100% stake in Southern Africa’s Club Travel Group.
Travelstart continues its growth path in Africa in terms of a deal to exclusively acquire the Club Travel Group. The acquisition will boost Travelstart’s offering by adding Club Travel’s established complementary corporate and franchise divisions, creating a formidable full-service African travel group.
“We love Club Travel because like us they have a long history in discount travel,” said Travelstart’s CEO Stephan Ekbergh. “Travelstart is strong in the consumer segment and we want to bring consumerization to the corporate and government sectors, where Club Travel is an emerging star.”
“Travelstart shares a common mission which is to make travel easier for customers. Our team is excited to partner with them to build an amazing long-term business over the next decade,” said Wally Gaynor, Club Travel’s Managing Director and founder who will retain a board seat.
While Africa’s travel and tourism market is worth an estimated $194 billion, digital uptake among consumers is still in its growth phase. With the acquisition, Travelstart and Club Travel enter a co-operation which will enable the former to expand its business and reach new customers, and the latter to gain the expertise to deliver digital product innovation and remain competitive.
Club Travel will continue as a standalone company within the Travelstart portfolio. Thebe Tourism Holdings (Thebe), the majority shareholder of the Club Travel Group since 2009, will sell its stake in the Club Travel Group to Travelstart. Thebe and Travelstart will jointly invest in and own Club Travel Corporate, a level one B-BBEE rated division of Club Travel Group.
“The deal is a response to the changes in travel in Southern Africa as consumer and corporate travel markets increasingly favour technology-driven solutions. We are excited to partner up with the team from Travelstart,” said Jerry Mabena, CEO at Thebe Tourism.
The closing of the deal is subject to the approval of the Competition Commission.
Travelstart was founded in Sweden in 1999 and pioneered online travel in Scandinavia with two basic principles; using technology to make travel purchases simple and offering customers the best price. In 2006, the company launched in South Africa and became a household name.
Travelstart currently does business across several African countries as well as the GCC area with offices in Cape Town, Lagos, Cairo and Dubai. Travelstart has seen double-digit growth and profitability since inception and is backed by Amadeus Capital Partners and HarbourVest. For more information visit www.travelstart.com
About Club Travel Group
Club Travel was established in 1987 with the simple philosophy of always giving the client the best deal. Club Travel subscribes to a culture of service excellence which is carried through in the selection of employees who display a passion for people. The company has grown from a single branch into an award-winning travel agency which includes leisure travel, over 400 branded and non-branded franchises and a corporate travel division.
The Club Travel Group is committed to meaningful empowerment and transformation in the South African travel and tourism sector. It’s corporate trading subsidiary, Club Travel Corporate, is a Level One B-BBEE contributor, with a 135% procurement recognition. Club Travel’s social investment initiative “Club Cares” is dedicated to community development and upliftment through a wide range of causes. For more information visit, www.clubtravelgroup.co.za
About Thebe Tourism
Thebe Tourism Group is a 100%-owned subsidiary of Thebe Investment Corporation. Formed in 2001, the group is the oldest black-empowered South African tourism group. It holds a significant portfolio in tourism and related industries including tourism attractions, hospitality, inbound and outbound tourism, car rental and group travel. Thebe Tourism focuses on making tourism accessible to all and is committed to ensuring responsible tourism is practised throughout all its businesses. The group aims to offer innovative, integrated, market-driven products. For more information visit, www.thebetourism.co.za.