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Yahoo & Despegar.com Pen Travel Services Deal

Yahoo! Inc., , has signed an agreement with Miami-based Despegar.com to market online travel services to the Latin American market.

The deal calls for Despegar to power a section on Yahoo's Spanish-language websites that would allow users to research travel plans, check flight availability, compare prices and book airline, hotel and car rental reservations online.

Yahoo! Mexico and Yahoo! Argentina are the first two of the company's global properties to use the Despegar travel booking engine. The service is part of re-launch of those sites' travel sections.

"Online travel purchases are growing significantly around the world, and Yahoo! is pleased to now offer easy access to online travel-related services and promotions geared toward the Latin American markets," said Roberto Alonso, vice president and managing director for Yahoo! Latin America.

According to Jupiter Research, the online travel market in Latin America is projected to generate $1.4 billion in bookings by 2005, Despegar cited in its announcement of the deal.

Despegar, which means to "take off" in Spanish, is one of the leading online travel site targeting Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking communities worldwide. The company operates in nine countries throughout Latin America, Spain and the U.S., and has a staff of more than 100 travel professionals.

The Yahoo! deal is one of a string of deals Despegar has been able to cobble together since it launched early last year. The company was the first to offer real-time wireless travel services in Brazil through a partnership with Telefonica. In May 2000, Despegar.com closed a first round of financing for $10.5 million dollars U.S. venture partners including Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, Merrill Lynch and Texas Pacific Group/Newbridge.