The country's largest and leading online travel agent (OTA) ShareTrip has celebrated its 3rd anniversary together with its partner and stakeholder organisations through a grand award ceremony.
The event was held at Hotel Sheraton Dhaka on 7 August, where ShareTrip handed over prestigious accolades to numerous deserving market players from industries related to travel and tourism as an amiable gesture for the extended support and contribution each made in 2020-2021, reads a press release.
This is the very first time in the travel industry, that an agent is giving awards to its suppliers and industry partners.
Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, state minister, ICT Division, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, graced the event as the chief guest.
Sami Ahmed, managing director, Startup Bangladesh Ltd also attended the event as special guest. ShareTrip's Co-Founder and CEO Sadia Haque and Founder Kashef Rahman were present during the event.
The appreciation and award programme recognised the efforts of the partners under categories like Exemplary Performing Airline in South Asia, South- East Asia, Americas, Europe, Oceania, Middle East and Central Asia regions and Bangladesh.
People's Choice Airline for different regions and Hotels in Bangladesh, Leading Campaign Partner, Leading Transaction Partner, Best Commercial Partner, Best Payment Gateway Partner, and Best Performing Agent were among the award winners and many more.
In addition, to understand customers' preferences, based on a 3-day survey with more than 10,000 responses, ShareTrip also arranged a People's Choice Category for the Airline and Hospitality Industry.
Startup Bangladesh Limited, the flagship venture capital company of ICT Division, decided to back the leading OTA in Bangladesh, making it the very first one in the travel industry.
To ensure that the OTA gains a competitive edge over all verticals of the travel industry, this strategic investment was infused into ShareTrip. Startup Bangladesh has invested at ShareTrip's $50 million company valuation. They aim to play a dominant role in the travel industry and convert the progress into a digitized industry.
"Most service sectors in Bangladesh are now adapting digital means to expand and augment their scope of operations as part of building our digital economy, and it is very much appreciable – given the global trend of digital transformation we are currently witnessing. ShareTrip has brought notable momentum to the travel and tourism sector through its easy and efficient online-based services. I thank ShareTrip and its partners for creating better ease for those who are on the move rather frequently. And this kind of community engagement also helps strengthen the bond in the industry. Congratulations to ShareTrip again on its 3rd anniversary and most importantly receiving the investment from Startup Bangladesh Ltd.", said Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, state minister, ICT Division.
"The work that ShareTrip is doing in the travel industry being an OTA is highly commendable and the investment from Startup Bangladesh Ltd on ShareTrip will help it to be the change maker of the industry. I also congratulate ShareTrip for its 3-year anniversary and hope that they will be able to make significant contribution towards building Smart Bangladesh in the Travel Industry. The ICT Division is working diligently in changing policies that assist the emerging and growing startups in many aspects, whether it is policy level, training, development etc. With the right strategy and focus, ShareTrip will be able to make a remarkable example as a successful and sustainable startup in the ecosystem" mentioned NM Zeaul Alam PAA, Senior Secretary, ICT Division and Chairman Startup Bangladesh Ltd.
"This is the first time Startup Bangladesh Limited is investing in the travel industry and we are very happy that ShareTrip is our first venture. Startup Bangladesh aims to support homegrown startups to grow and reach heights that generate higher standards for more Foreign Investment. The local startup ecosystem is greatly influenced by prospective ventures like ShareTrip, where passion and professionalism, coming together, can provide a single organisation with the strength to give its whole industry a significant push forward. ShareTrip has been an outstanding example of how to turn a hopeful idea into a successful business. I wish them all the success and congratulate them on the investment from Startup Bangladesh. all the best to the organisation and its partners", said Sami Ahmed, Managing Director, Startup Bangladesh Limited.
"We dedicate the night to the beautiful relationships we have nurtured together with our partners over our journey of three years. Without your kind support and cooperation, our path would have been more challenging. Future projections show that the online market could grow more than 50%t in the next 3 years, and for ShareTrip the journey will be less of a challenge because of the Investment from Startup Bangladesh Ltd. This investment is not only a financial one but rather a strategic one, to strengthen the credibility and progression of the OTAs in the coming days. On behalf of the ShareTrip family, we are thankful to SBL for choosing to invest in us", said Sadia Haque, Co-founder and CEO, ShareTrip.
ShareTrip has served over half a million customers from across the country. More than 5,000 agents work for the brand, making travel more accessible to even the remotest areas through a2i Digital Centers. ShareTrip believes that there is still an immense opportunity to digitize operations and explore deeper into the web sphere in Bangladesh. So far, it has taken approximately 20% of the total online space in the current travel market. Due to digitization in the travel sector still remaining in the nascent phases, customers are missing out on a lot of services and benefits. Hand in hand with its trade partners, along with stakeholders like the ICT Division; Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism; and Bangladesh Bank, ShareTrip wishes to expand the home-grown tech excellence in the global arena and create a scope of digitization for encouraging more foreign investment.