Travelport has signed a historic distributor agreement with Satguru Travel & Tourism which will enable the GDS to grow its African network from 27 to 41 countries and grow its existing GDS operations in a further two.
The strategic partnership between the two companies, which forms part of Travelport’s on- going strategy to invest and grow in the fast growing African continent, takes immediate effect. Last year, flight bookings made through the GDS channel in Africa increased by 7.7% and the trend looks set to continue as economists predict that the average GDP across the continent will increase by 4.7% in 2012 and 5.7% in 2013.
Satguru Travel and Tourism, which is headquartered in the UAE, is the largest African travel company outside of South Africa. Operating in 27 African countries, it also runs a number of operations outside of Africa including in Afghanistan, India, the UAE and Yemen. Under the agreement, Satguru will set up operations and run the National Distributor Centres for Travelport in the following countries: Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan and Togo.
“The deal we are announcing today with Satguru is a huge milestone for Travelport and represents a giant leap forward in our African ambitions. There are huge opportunities for us to grow our business across the continent and it’s great to be working with such an outstanding partner who has a very strong track record in Africa.” said Mark Meehan, managing director for Travelport in Africa.
“Satguru has been hard at work and operations are already in place in a number of the above mentioned countries, and their impact is already evident,” he said. “In the countries where Satguru is not the Travelport distributor we have also signed a subscriber agreement which include 11 African countries plus Afghanistan, India, the UAE and Yemen.”
Anil Chandirani, Satguru’s managing director, said “Our partnership with Travelport will allow us to distribute the Galileo platform to a very extensive travel agency community in Africa. We believe our travel industry expertise, combined with Travelport’s leading technology and deep travel content, will ensure our combined success as we move forward with our plans.”