Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Online Travel

Indonesia’s Traveloka Lands $300 Million Funding

2 months ago

Indonesia’s leading online travel agency Traveloka will be receiving a fresh round of funding of $300 million from Indonesia Investment Authority — the newly-formed sovereign wealth fund of Indonesia, investment management agency — BlackRock, Allianz Global Investors, Orion Capital Asia and other global financial institutions.

The financing round is said to have attracted significant interest from a number of long-term capital providers, resulting in an oversubscribed transaction, according to an Indonesia Investment Authority release on Thursday.

A Skift article in June had mentioned that the online travel unicorn had been looking to raise over $200 million, having already raised a total of $1.2 billion in funding across six rounds.

The financing would allow Traveloka an opportunity to further strengthen its balance sheet and enable the online travel company to continue to focus on its core business while also building for the future, Ferry Unardi, CEO and co-founder of Traveloka, said.

The pandemic has heightened the expectation for digital products, Shirley Lesmana, chief marketing officer of Traveloka, had said while speaking at the Skift Global Forum in New York last week.

With online travel agencies in Indonesia seeing their share of gross tourism booking increase from 24 percent pre-pandemic to 33 percent in 2021, the expectation is to reach 36 percent by 2024, said Ridha Wirakusumah, CEO of Indonesia Investment Authority.

With the pandemic having accelerated digital transformation, the financing would support Traveloka’s digital ecosystem growth in the travel sector while allowing the company to grow further, the release from Indonesia’s sovereign wealth fund stated.

“The financing aligns with Indonesia Investment Authority’s mission to create prosperity for Indonesia in the long term, by laying down the foundation for a sustainable digital ecosystem, including digital infrastructure, digital services and digital platforms — which will go a long way to drive economic recovery and growth,” Wirakusumah said.

Representatives from the financial institutions commended Traveloka’s resilience in navigating the Covid crisis and called the online travel company Indonesia’s national and regional champion and a key catalyst toward digitalization of travel and accommodation in the country and the region.

Tourism

Efforts to Tame Overtourism Come Under Pressure

4 months ago

Covid gave Southeast Asia a break from overtourism. Now what?” That’s the question The Washington Post asked on Saturday.

Pandemic-related lockdowns and reduced tourism let many destinations take a break from heavy volumes of visitors. But now, many destinations are divided. Some want to preserve the benefits of lower tourist impact, such as wildlife recovery. Others want to discard many restrictions because they’re eager to max out the job-creating potential of their tourist landmarks and attractions.

Here are a few examples:

  • In Thailand, the ministry of natural resources and the environment has ordered the country’s 155 natural parks to shut down at least a month every year. The idea is to give nature a chance to heal from heavy visitor footfall and boat traffic. The decision came after the parks were closed for the first time in 2020.
  • In Indonesia, officials recently tried to limit visits to the ancient Borobudur Temple in Yogyakarta to 15 at a time while also hiking prices for foreigners from $25 to $100 to pay for conservation. (The historic temple has nine stone tiers that support statues and relief panels of the Buddha.) Local opposition has since appeared, however, and the price hikes are now on pause.
  • Indonesia’s effort to raise prices on a heritage site and national park featuring Komodo Dragons has also stalled, Nikkei reported.
  • Before the pandemic, officials in the Philippines shuttered the island of Boracay for half a year and then reopened it with some restrictions. “But in April [of this year], Boracay exceeded its daily visitor cap multiple times,” the Post reported.

Overtourism is a term Skift came up with years before the pandemic. Overtourism continues to be a thorny challenge for the tourism industry during the recovery that Skift will continue to watch closely.

Covid gave Southeast Asia a break from overtourism. Now what?

Tourism

SE Asia Dominates for Muslim Travelers Globally; Under-40s Driving Halal Tourism

6 months ago

South East Asia and Middle East regions continue to dominate in the ranking of Muslim-friendly destinations, according to the latest research and rankings by Muslim travel consultancy Crescent Rating along with its partner Mastercard.

The report dives into how the under-40s global Muslim population is now driving the next phase of growth of what many in the industry call “halal tourism.” Gen Z and women travelers amongst the Muslim population will drive the growth from here on, according to the report.

From the report: “This year’s ranking reflects those efforts by the destination. Malaysia continues to maintain its top position in the GMTI 2022. However, the gap between Malaysia and other top Muslim-friendly destinations is narrowing.Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey share second place. Uzbekistan has again shown significant improvement in the ranking, climbing 7 positions to be ranked no. 9 this year. Singapore is still the only non-OIC country to make it to the top 20 of the GMTI 2022 rankings.”

These four charts from the report are most instructive on the state of the market:

The overall Muslim travel market globally
South East Asia and other Muslim majority countries dominate as destinations Muslims like to go to.
Amongst the non-Muslim majority countries, Singapore is a huge market, while other Asian countries dominate.
Fascinating chart on the outbound Muslim market from muslim-majority vs other countries where muslims have large populations.

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