SoftBank-backed tourism App Klook eyes expansion in Europe
10/12/2019|5:51:26 PM|The Information

Japan is a popular travel destination, but planning visits to lesser-known sights can be hard for foreigners. Online booking isn’t always available on local websites, and information in English can be limited. That’s where Klook, a fast-growing global tourism app, comes in. Its offerings in Japan include tickets for everything from trains to museums to hot springs.   

The Hong Kong–based Klook, founded in 2014, is one of a growing number of companies—also including Airbnb’s Experiences division and TripAdvisor’s Viator—that focus on helping travelers book activities such as Broadway shows and scuba diving courses in places they visit. Klook said last month that it had raised $425 million from SoftBank’s Vision Fund and other investors in its most recent funding round. Backers also include Sequoia Capital China and Matrix Partners.

The potential market for tourist activities is projected to be worth $183 billion globally by 2020, estimates travel and hospitality industry consultancy Phocuswright. While travel agents have long helped tourists arrange activities, Klook and its rivals are helping shift much of that effort online, so it can be handled more easily on mobile apps. 

Klook, which offers its services in nine languages and 41 currencies, processed $1 billion in bookings last year, according to Gnock Fah. Though the rates vary depending on the types of services, the company typically takes a cut of 10% to 20% of what travelers pay the merchants. Klook doesn’t disclose its revenue and hasn’t said whether it is profitable. A Klook spokesman said that in mature markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore they have “healthy cash flow,” while in newer markets they are focused on investing to expand the user base. 

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