UAE based travel portal Musafir.com launches in India, ropes in Sachin Tendulkar as brand ambassador

UAE based travel portal Musafir.com in which cricketer Sachin Tendulkar owns a minority stake of 7.5 % has launched its operations in India. The company plans to spend around INR 100 crore in the next two-three years in the country.

Musafir.com was founded in 2007 by Albert Dias, Sachin Gadoya and Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah Al Thani. Its executive director Jagdish Asher will be taking caring of its Indian operations with a current team of 200 members.

India’s online travel market is expected to cross INR 55,000 crore by 2015 and OTAs (Online Travel Agents) are expected to account for a 40% share. “Our aim is to leverage our expertise and experience to maximise opportunities in this burgeoning market by focusing on the B2C leisure travel segment and offering Indian travellers a suite of exciting products, no-nonsense convenience and a premium experience,” said Sachin Gadoya.

With this it has also brought in Sachin Tendulkar as its brand ambassador, and through this association, it aims to strengthen brand recall to meet its growth plans in the country.

Tendulkar would be the second celebrity in India who has backed a travel portal, last year Salman Khan had also bought a minority stake in Yatra.com.

Musafir.com will be investing about INR 60 crore in marketing in the next two years, out which INR 25 crore will be deployed by the company for marketing activities for this year alone. And the remaining INR 40 crore, from the INR 100 crore budget, would be used by the company for its services and getting the team in place.

It is also in plans to enter in the retail space as well and expects to add 12 stores by the next year in the country. It already has 11 offline stores across the UAE and four branches in Sharjah, two each in Dubai, and Abu Dhabi and one in Ras Al Khaimah.

The investment will be funded through the UAE-based Universal Travels & Tourism and India-based Viva Holdings, reports ET.

With its launch in India, Musafir.com aims to add revenues of INR 120-140 crore in the first year with a targeted YOY growth by 75-80%.

The company will be facing competition from other travel portals in the country like Cleartrip, Makemytrip and Yatra.

To contact author, email pooja.sareen@wirefootindia.com

Image Courtesy: facebook.com/musafirdotcom

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