“Travel is one of the largest industries in the world and one that is most suited to internet transactions,” said Chahram Becharat, managing director Europe for Europ@web, in a statement. “Travel was the third-largest commerce category in 1998 and is forecast to be close to the number-one position this year, with more than $7 billion in transactions.”
Becharat said Europ@web considers Leisureplanet, based in Brussels, one of the few players in Europe capable of becoming an international leader in online travel services. Leisureplanet is majority-owned by Leisureplanet Holdings Ltd., which is traded on Nasdaq.
Leisureplanet claims to have the world’s largest hotel database with images: 49,000 listings, including 16,000 independent hotels. It also offers flight information, car and hotel reservation facilities, package and cruise deals and proprietary travel guides on more than 180 travel destinations.
Europ@web, an investment arm of Groupe Arnault, Arnault’s family holding, previously invested in free access provider Libertysurf, Webvan, 1-800 Flowers and PlanetRx in the U.S.