BANGKOK, THAILAND (25 June 2020) — The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) impact investment platform, ADB Ventures, has teamed with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to support technology startup TakeMeTour to develop the LocalFarm online platform and help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on Thailand’s tourism sector.
LocalFarm enables farmers and gardeners who had relied on tourism for their incomes to market seasonal fruits, vegetables, salads, and processed fruits directly to consumers. It features agricultural products from more than 50 sellers across Thailand. TakeMeTour charges suppliers with no fees or commissions to access the platform.
“We are thrilled to launch LocalFarm, which will give our local guides and Thai farmers the opportunity to earn income and connect with new customers in their communities,” said Co-founder of TakeMeTour Taro Amornched. “It also opens a great opportunity for farmers once tourism revives. We’re looking forward to working with ADB Ventures and the Tourism Authority of Thailand to scale this platform across the country.”
“In this unprecedented crisis, it is impressive to see how quickly and efficiently TakeMeTour has developed an innovative online platform to help front-line tourism workers earn alternative income streams,” said ADB Ventures Senior Investment Specialist Dominic Mellor.
TakeMeTour is a tourism marketplace that for the past five years has matched tourists with independent local guides. It developed LocalFarm after anticipating that Thai local guides, many of whom operate farms and gardens, would lose income during the pandemic.
ADB Ventures provides venture capital investments and technical assistance to highly-scalable technology businesses in Asia and the Pacific, supporting their expansion into emerging markets and helping countries achieve Sustainable Development Goals. Investors in ADB Ventures include Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Clean Technology Fund, the Nordic Development Fund, and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Economy and Finance.
ADB and TAT have supported TakeMeTour through technical assistance since 2017. It has become the Greater Mekong Subregion’s largest peer-to-peer tourism platform, featuring tours and activities hosted by more than 25,000 local experts, more than 60% of whom are women. ADB Ventures provided TakeMeTour $150,000 in Seed grant funding for LocalFarm product development as well as regional market validation. ADB Ventures Seed grants are reimbursable and give ADB Ventures the option to make future equity investments.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.