Investments

Ramallah-based Safra raises seed funding to make it easy for travel agents to book holiday packages for their customers

Palestinian travel startup Safra has raised seed funding from local VC firm Ibtikar Fund, the firm announce today, without disclosing the size of investment.

Founded by Thaer Samara, Safra acts as a one stop shop for travel agents to create holiday packages for their customers. The platform that has partnerships with different service providers to offer competitive rates to travel agents for all parts of a holiday – flights, accommodations, activities, and airport transfers. According to their website, Safra currently has an inventory of over 600,000 hotels, 5,000 airlines, 15,000 activities, and 16,000 transfers. The platform offers easy API integration for the travel agents and free API support.

It is trying to address the problems faced by most of the travel agents these days.

“Currently, travel agents have to use distinct platforms for the different components of travel packages—they search several platforms to find the best flight prices and options, other platforms for hotels (or they have direct relationships with in-country agencies or hotels), and individually arrange for transfers and activities (through partner travel agencies). All in all, the current process is not optimized, is inefficient, time-consuming, and prone to many human errors,” the statement notes.

“Because Safra integrates directly with wholesalers, prices are significantly lower, leaving travel agents with a higher margin of profit and allowing them the flexibility to offer more competitive prices,” it adds.

Thaer Samara, Safra’s CEO commenting on the current state how how travel agents work, said, “It’s truly shocking that travel agents are still working on antiquated platforms that require them to basically code to book a flight. We set out to build a platform that not only offers them better prices, but that makes the process seamless through great user experience and design.”

Habib Hazzan, Managing General Partner of Ibtikar Fund, said, “The MENA travel industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Travelers from the GCC alone spent more than USD 90 billion in outbound travel in 2017, the vast majority of which was booked through travel agents. Yet, this industry remains small and fragmented, and prone for disruption. We believe Safra has the ability to bring some efficiency to our Arab travel industry and create win-win situations for travel agents and end consumers.”

Safra will use the investment to expand the reach and use of platform throughout the region.

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