Travelstart is set to wholly acquire South Africa’s 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.