Buffalo Tours Singapore JV with Flight Centre to take off in January

VIETNAMESE travel and hospitality company Thien Minh Group (TMG) and Flight Centre Travel Group (FLT)’s joint venture DMC is set to launch in Singapore on January 15, 2015, with plans to expand the Buffalo Tours brand throughout Asia.

Buffalo Tours Singapore will provide tours, excursions, transfers and other “at destination” services to FLT’s businesses and third-party wholesales at key locations throughout the region.

Specifically, the joint venture will operate and expand the existing Buffalo Tours businesses in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, which are expected to be formally transferred into the venture late in 1H2015. These businesses are aligned to the larger Buffalo Tours business in Vietnam, which is not part of the new venture but will remain FLT’s DMC partner in the country.

The partnership will also progressively launch new Buffalo Tours businesses in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Japan, which will become FLT’s DMC partner in all of the chosen markets.

CEO and founder of TMG and Buffalo Tours, Tran Trong Kien, said: “The partnership with FLT will significantly boost the expansion pace of the group through Buffalo Tours. With presence in major destinations in Asia, Buffalo Tours will be able to offer comprehensive DMC services for Asia travel to our existing and new wholesale clients with greater purchasing advantages.”

FLT managing director Graham Turner said the company’s expansion into destination management was a logical progression. “By expanding our relationship with Buffalo Tours we gain the immediate benefits of working with an experienced partner with a proven track record as a DMC, access to a new revenue stream – we are effectively bringing business that was previously transacted externally in-house – and greater influence over the product offering for our customers.”

He added: “In the longer term, there is also opportunity to expand the Buffalo Tours product range and, given that the model is replicable, grow the business organically. This move is aligned with both our acquisition strategy of expanding vertically into capital-light travel industry sectors and our aim of owning more of the product we sell, rather than always being an agent or middleman.”

Both FLT and TMG will initially contribute US$1.5 million in capital, with FLT holding a 49 per cent interest in the partnership, and will have three representatives each on the joint venture board.

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