Malaysian wholesaler Universal Holidays Travel and Tourism has launched a distribution platform that focuses on South-east Asian hotels, tours and attractions, restaurants and transportation services.
The company’s founder and CEO, Zahira Tahir, described U-Pass as a “labour of love” that took two years and RM600,000 (US$143,318) to birth.
The platform addresses two main pain points of overseas outbound agents – challenges in sourcing for tourism products from lesser-known destinations in the region as well as difficulties in purchasing multiple destination products beyond major cities. With U-Pass, agents can curate regional packages on a single platform and receive instant confirmation, without a transaction fee attached.
For a start, U-Pass offers products from Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. Work is ongoing to bring partners from Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines onboard, with a goal of having products from all 10 ASEAN member countries on the platform by next year.
Although the focus is on South-east Asia, U-Pass also sells hotels from around the world as it is directly connected with a few international aggregators.
To date, wholesale agents from Japan, India, Pakistan and the Middle East have contracted to buy from U-Pass.
“Travellers (will no longer) wait one or two days for their travel agent to respond. We assist agents to meet the new demands of travellers by providing instant confirmation on bookings and options for off-the-beaten track destinations. Ultimately, we aim to be the digital solution for all agents who sell South-east Asia tours,” said Zahira.
Zahira expects growing interest in South-east Asian destinations as well as off-the-beaten-track experiences once international borders reopen across the region.