Travelstart – the African online booking website founded in 1999 – pursues its development in Africa with the acquisition of Club Travel Group. The addition of Club Travel’s familiar corporate and franchise divisions should improve Travelstart’s position in the industry, making it a noteworthy full-service African travel establishment.
“We love Club Travel because like us, they have a long history in discount travel,” says the Chief Executive Officer of Travelstart, 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.”
Wally Gaynor, the Managing Director and founder of Club Travel who will maintain a board member position, says, “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”.
Although the market for African tourism and travel is valued at roughly $194 billion, digital utilization from consumers is still a growing segment. With this collaboration, Travelstart will be able to expand their business and target new customers, while Club Travel can keep up with a competitive industry as they benefit from the expertise in offering digital solutions. Club Travel will remain a standalone company as they go forward under the Travelstart portfolio. Thebe Tourism Holdings of Thebe Investment Corporation has been the majority shareholder of Club Travel from 2009. They will be selling their shares in Club Travel to Travelstart, making Thebe and Travelstart the co-investors and co-owners of Club Travel Corporate.
“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,” says Chief Executive Officer of Thebe Tourism, Jerry Mabena.