The activities travel market in Asia has been heating up this year. The most recent high-profile news on the sector came from newly minted unicorn Klook, based in Hong Kong. Klook’s recent new $200 million round of funding put its valuation at over $1 billion. Now, Alibaba has backed Taiwanese travel activities company FunNow. The $5 million funding series, led by the Alibaba Entrepreneur Fund, illustrates the growing attention major travel stakeholders are taking in the burgeoning travel activities sector.
The FunNow app can be used to book leisure outings in Taiwan and elsewhere instantly, such as dining, massages, tours, and spas. The company claims to have to have signed 3,000 vendors and a customer base of 500,000.
Activities-based travel companies in Asia have been able to garner the attention of major tourism stakeholders, including Alibaba
Along with Alibaba, CDIB Innovation Accelerator Fund, Darwin Venture, and Accuvest also invested in FunNow. In July 2017, FunNow received $1.5 million in funding.
FunNow plans on using the funding to expand from Taiwan to Okinawa, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, and Tokyo.
FunNow isn’t the first travel activities company that Alibaba has invested in this year. Last month, it was announced that Alibaba had invested in another Taiwanese activities firm, KKday, which will see the company launch a flagship store on Alibaba’s OTA Fliggy. KKday operates in 11 Asian markets and received $10.5 million in funding from Japanese firm H.I.S. earlier this year.
The growing importance of the travel activities market has been spurred in part by the growing number of outbound Chinese tourists
The activities sector has become increasingly important for travel stakeholders in the past few years as a growing number of outbound Asian tourists have opted to travel independently, rather than on tour groups. Being able to book unique travel experiences easily and quickly is a logical bridge between group and independent travel. While the overall sector is still relatively small and has mainly catered to tourists from developed Asian source markets like Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong, it’s hard to ignore the enormous potential for growth as millions more Chinese tourists opt to travel independently every year.
“The consumer behavior is changing — people tend not to plan their activities many days beforehand. Instant booking is the new lifestyle trend,” FunNow CEO TK Chen noted.