Wego, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) online travel marketplace, has announced that it will acquire Cleartrip’s Middle East business in a deal expected to close in the second half of the year. 2022.
With around nine million app downloads recorded in 2021, Wego has become the region’s largest online travel marketplace, according to a statement.
Cleartrip expanded into the region in 2010 and acquired Riyadh-based Flyin.com in 2018, expanding Saudi Arabia’s online travel market.
Leading travel platform @we go to acquire @CleartripMiddle East business under an agreement expected to close in the second half of 2022. The agreement between the two Dubai-based Internet City companies strengthens #Dubai‘s credentials as a global technology hub. @DIC_Community pic.twitter.com/6XmqNZx9LF
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) February 21, 2022
The success of Wego and Cleartrip in the region reflects the Middle East’s expansion into the travel and tourism sector over the past decade, fueled by its strategic location between important global regions such as Europe, the North Africa and Asia. Cities like Dubai, Riyadh and Amman have rapidly urbanized, making them a popular leisure and business destination for regional and international travelers. Despite the setbacks to the global industry due to Covid-19, the travel and tourism sector appears optimistic, with the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) predicting that its contribution to the global economy could reach 8.6 billion. dollars this year. The WTTC also predicts that the Middle East sector’s contribution to the region’s total economic output could see a 28% year-on-year increase.
Just like the rest of the world, the online travel market has seen a significant increase in the MENA region, driven by a young and technologically savvy population. A study by MENA Research Partners in 2019 predicted that the online travel market in the GCC alone will reach $15 billion by 2023. Dubai’s advanced infrastructure and global reputation as a popular tourist destination make the city a particularly strategic location for market players. Dubai Airport remained the world’s busiest international aviation hub in 2021, serving 20.7 million passengers, while Dubai-Riyadh emerged as the busiest route.
The acquisition will enable Wego to improve its operations to meet growing demand in the region by leveraging Cleartrip’s advanced digital infrastructure and resources and enable it to provide a wider range of services and products to consumers.
Ross Veitch, CEO and Co-Founder of Wego, said: “Wego and Cleartrip both expanded into the Middle East about a decade ago from Singapore and India respectively, and we both found a new home in Dubai. We were excited by the opportunity presented by a vibrant region with some of the best airlines, airports and destinations in the world, a population that loves to travel but a relatively underpenetrated online travel industry. Dubai’s business-friendly environment, pragmatic policymaking and the region’s status as a hub for the technology and travel industries have played a significant role in Wego’s growth. It was also in Dubai that Wego and Cleartrip began working together, and so in many ways Dubai acted as matchmaker and venue for the wedding we are announcing today.
Ammar Al Malik, Managing Director of Dubai Internet City, said: “Dubai continues to cement its leading position as a global hub for tech business and talent and as an incubator for the most important success stories of the region. Acquisitions and mergers within Dubai Internet City over the past two decades attest to the emirate’s strong position and enabling platform for promising investment opportunities.