Online tourism doesn’t always draw that much attention locally. This is despite the fact that two elements which define it, the internet and tourism, are significant representations of economic growth when looked at individually. Their mashup should therefore be something to look out for.
That’s not to say that people in tech are ignoring it totally though. One local startup has managed to get the right attention for its focus on this tech-meets-tourism relationship. Africabookings is an online booking platform for African hotels and accommodation. So far, it has signed on 500 hotels and secured B2B partnerships with other tourism service operators.
A few days ago it was announced that Africabookings had secured $25,000 in seed funding from Travel Startups. This is a US-based incubator focused on seed stage and early stage travel tech startups. It provides funding in the form of $25,000 cash investments as well as $25,000 in service support over a period of up to half a year.
Africabookings struck up a relationship with Travel Startups earlier this year at the Eye for Travel Startup Village Conference held in San Francisco. Africabookings took home an award from the event, coming in second out of 12 startups that pitched to a panel of judges.
According to information from Travel Startups announcement, Africabookings will use the funding for expansion into 19 Sub-Saharan countries and it will be focused on helping lodges and hotels that are seeking a global audience.
Eyes and money on African tourism?
This sort of market has shown a lot of potential, largely because of the huge investor appeal that African tourism has always managed to carry plus the advancements like cheaper air travel (think FlyAfrica), strides in e-commerce and a gamut of marketing channels that have boosted business in this domain. All this had made selling the e-tourism opportunity a lot easier.
Just last month, Hotels.ng, a Nigerian startup that offers the same sort of convenience as Africabookings, managed to raise $1,2 million from Nigeria’s Spark.ng. This figure was on the heels of another $225,000 that it had raised back in 2013.
Africabookings might not yet be at Hotels.ng’s stage in terms of funding and market size, but the startup team, led by Bruce Tapping seems to have inspired the right sort of confidence so far.