In 2014, Muslim travellers accounted for US$142 billion in global outbound tourism revenue
Kuala Lumpur-based online travel agency and hotel review platform for Muslim travellers Tripfez today announced that it has secured US$750,000 of seed funding led by Gobi Partners and Intres Capital (AXIATA Group).
Several angel investors in the travel industry also participated in the round, including Qunar Co-Founder Douglas Khoo.
The company plans to use the fund to expand offerings, enhance marketing efforts, upgrade technological capabilities, and scale up hiring. It also aims to grow in key Middle Eastern markets and Indonesia.
“We’re very excited to have Gobi Partners leading the round. Their vast experience and network within the travel sector will provide invaluable support to our team,” said CEO and Co-Founder Faeez Fadhlillah in an official statement.
Founded by Fadhlillah and Juergen Gallistl in 2013, Tripfez enables travellers to discover, compare and complete bookings that fit their needs, while offering tips for a wide range of destinations around the world.
It claimed to have featured more than 200,000 properties world-wide.
With over 23 per cent of the world’s population identifying themselves as Muslim, the market has been showing rapid growth in the past years.
In 2014, Muslim travellers accounted for US$142 billion in global outbound tourism revenue, a figure that is expected to rise to US$233 billion by 2020.
A subsector that presents a massive opportunity for online travel agencies that specialise in Muslim travel is hajj and umrah (pilgrimage) related travels, with over 2.5 million people made the hajj in 2015 alone, generating an estimated US$18.6 billion in revenue.
“The Muslim travel market is currently experiencing a similar awakening as the Chinese travel market did in the early-to-mid 2000s,” said Douglas Khoo.
Apart from providing booking and review platform, Tripfez also introduced hotel certification system called Salam Standard.
“Earlier, when Muslims travel, they hoped that their needs would be fulfilled somehow. Nowadays it moves towards expecting that a place meets their requirement. That is why we introduced Salam Standard, not only as a reference for Muslim travellers, but also as a tool to educate hotels to cater to the needs and requirements of Muslims when they travel,” explained Fadhlillah in an e-mail to e27.
Divided into Bronze, Silver, and Gold categories, the certification allows Muslim travellers to choose a hotel that best suited their cultural and religious needs, which range from the provision of prayer mats or Quran on request in the room, a symbol to indicate qiblah direction (arrow pointing towards Mecca), the absence of alcohol in hotel room’s mini bar, to the provision of halal-certified food in hotel or list of nearby halal-certified restaurant.
Major brands which have already been Salam Standard-rated range from Accor Hotels and Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, to Indonesia’s Archipelago Hotel Group.
Salam Standard provides registered properties with branding (certificates and Salam Standard stickers), online and offline promotion, plus global marketing opportunities.
Image Credit: Inbal Malca on Unsplash
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