What’s next for identity in 2019? Travel.

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What’s next for identity in 2019? Travel.

Simeon Beal, Associate Director

Last week, the SoftBank Vision Fund invested $225 million into Klook, an operator of a platform for booking travel activities, in a series D+ round bringing the total amount raised to $425 million. According to PEhub, this investment represents “the largest financing in the global travel activities and services industry.”

Klook intends to use this investment to continue its expansion into the Asian markets, with a key focus on leveraging Softbank Group’s Japanese presence to capitalize on the expected surge in tourism driven by the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

These strategic positions into travel industry-related technologies are in response to the burgeoning growth of international tourism. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, there was a 7% increase in the total international tourist arrivals in 2017, the highest increase since 2009, with an additional $1,340 billion spent on international tourist receipts. In 2017 the United States experienced a 5 percent growth in travelers entering the U.S., roughly 124 million people, bringing a five year growth total to 21.6 percent.


Private industry and the capital markets are not the only ones taking notice to these developments. Governments around the world are scrambling to bolster transportation infrastructure to support these increased volumes, with a particular focus on security.   

Colleen Manaher, Executive Director at the CBP, spoke last month at the KNOW Identity 2019 conference about the role biometric entry and exit could play in making the travelers experience more secure and efficient. Through her leadership, Ms. Manaher has worked to launch biometric operations in over 14 entry entry locations and 15 exit locations as of 2018, with plans of continued expansion.

The program is working. On January 19th, 2019 a 26 year-old woman traveling from Mexico City was identified, through facial recognition, as illegally claiming to be a U.S. passport holder, after having successfully made it through more basic screening checkpoints.

OWI Recommendation

Identity professionals should capitalize on the success of the CBP program, and engage regulatory agencies to identify areas of collaboration between private and public sectors.