Online and outbound travel are two major driving forces in China’s tourist industry as the country’s newly-wealthy middle class and younger generations gain the financial power to explore the world.
Aoliday, a Chengdu-based outbound travel platform, is working at the intersection of these two trends announced today that it has received US$1.5 million in seed financing from Gobi Partners. The investment will be used to enhance current tour operations and expanding on its travel destinations.
The company is dedicated to providing outbound independent travel products, packages and services to Chinese-speaking travelers. Through its website and mobile app, Aoliday currently offers over 3,000 independent tour packages, spanning popular destinations in Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, southeast Asia, and United States.
Aoliday’s products and services encompass standalone and package tours, including cruises, extreme sports, hotel booking, leisure activities, local attractions, restaurant booking, sightseeing trips, transportation arrangements, watersports, as well as personal travel offerings.
The platform cooperates with operators of Australian scenic spots, instead of other local travel agencies or tourism wholesalers, in a bid to better control service quality and provide customized services.
Aoliday was launched in 2010 as a personal hobby of company founder James He, an industry veteran who has worked in Australian tourism sector for eight years. He then bootstrapped the site into a startup project in 2013.
According to the company, Aoliday has maintained continuous profitability since its establishment. By the end of 2015, Aoliday plans to enhance its offerings to include over 10,000 different tour products and expand into new markets.
“In recent years, Chinese outbound tourism has shown remarkable growth,” said Thomas G. Tsao, managing partner at Gobi Partners. “In consequence, independent travel offerings are increasingly in demand as more travelers break away from the traditional tour group. We believe that Aoliday is well-positioned to capitalize on this shift in consumer habits.”
Aoliday joins a number of other travel investments by Gobi Partners, including Spottly, Tuniu (Nasdaq: TOUR) and Yododo, among others.
Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)