Ibtikar Fund announces newest investment in Safra, a platform for travel agencies

RAMALLAH, Wednesday, Ibtikar Fund, a disruptive fund that invests in innovative Palestinian companies at their earliest stages, announced on Wednesday its newest investment in Safra, a comprehensive and fully integrated travel platform designed to meet the demanding requirements of professional travel agents in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, according to a press release.

Safra’s technology is seamlessly linked to multiple travel service providers so that travel agents can, from one platform, receive the best offers and book full travel packages for their clients, including flights, accommodations, activities, and airport transfers, said the press release by Ibtikar.

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, it said.

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, said the press release.

Thaer Samara, Safra’s CEO, realized the need for a platform after working with various regional travel companies. “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, he said.

“The MENA travel industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Travelers from the Gulf Cooperation Council alone spent more than $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,” explained Habib Hazzan, Managing General Partner of Ibtikar Fund.

Ibtikar’s investment will help Safra expand its reach and use of the platform throughout the Arab world.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency