Skip to main content
Daily travel & tourism news portal for the Asia-Pacific market since 2012

Airlines

How AirAsia got into tours & activities – and its plans to dominate

Author: Theodore Koumelis / Date: Tue, 06/04/2019 - 01:06
5479
 Converting air passengers into sight-seeing tourists: (l to r) Aaron Sarma, COO, AirAsia.com; no shortage of Asian attractions; and Douglas Quinby, CEO of Arival.
Converting air passengers into sight-seeing tourists: (l to r) Aaron Sarma, COO, AirAsia.com; no shortage of Asian attractions; and Douglas Quinby, CEO of Arival.

Aaron Sarma, the COO of AirAsia.com, will tell the Arival in-destination event in Bangkok why AirAsia is in a unique position to enter the tours, activities and attractions sector and take on Klook and others.

AirAsia believes it can be stronger than Klook at selling activities. The airline aims to tap into its base of over 100 million customers to sell in-destination activities and tours.

Aaron Sarma, COO of AirAsia.com (and founder and CEO of Vidi), will reveal details of the strategy on stage at Arival, Asia’s only event dedicated to tours, activities and attractions, in Bangkok 26 June.

Arival CEO Douglas Quinby says that AirAsia has never been timid about its plans to expand across the region into new lines of business. “With several affiliate brands serving 140 destinations across Asia, the airline group has made plain its plans to become a full-service online travel agency,” notes Quinby.

In the last three years or so, AirAsia has built up an offering of 15,000 experiences in 80 destinations served by AirAsia directly. The content comes both through contracts with operators and partnerships with online travel agencies and content aggregators.  
AirAsia has not been deterred by competitor Klook’s ability to raise over US$500 million in investment. 

“Klook has done a great job and has been very aggressive with pricing and supply,” says Sarma. “But we have a key advantage because we have this huge base of customers already engaged with us — more than 100 million travellers every year.”

However, it’s still early days as AirAsia builds its tour portfolio. Sarma says that AirAsia’s focus continues to be expanding direct supply contracts and partnerships as well as integrating tours and activities into the broader AirAsia experience. 

Sarma, however, is clear on priorities. “Our mission is to convert as many of those [AirAsia] customers as possible.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Theodore Koumelis

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.