A direct-sell sports tour operator that has the backing of four senior travel industry entrepreneurs has clinched a major deal with Premiership Rugby to grow the business.
As part of its expansion, InspireSport, which organises coach trips for schools and sports clubs to training sessions across the UK and Europe, has also appointed Catherine Birch – who previously worked for Tui-owned Edwin Doran Sports – as head of operations, and promoted Jed McCabe to head of sales.
It is also in the process of recruiting three new sales and business development managers.
The news follows investment by former Thomas Cook tour operations managing director Richard Calvert and former Comtec boss Simon Powell, both non-executive directors, former Comtec financial director Matt Wakerley and US-based aviation specialist Jonathan Baldwin.
They have invested £340,000 in the Cardiff-based specialist alongside existing shareholders, including Finance Wales.
InspireSport managing director Tom Shorey said the new deal was a first for Premiership Rugby. The organisation has joined forces with the tour operator to provide development programmes for youngsters aged ten and above.
They will provide residential camps, with training by Premiership Rugby coaches, to develop young people’s sports skills and give advice on other issues, such as nutrition, over three to five days. There will also be an opportunity to attend an Aviva Premiership match and mix with players and coaches.
The deal is with 12 past or present Premiership clubs including Harlequins, Leeds Carnegie, London Irish and London Wasps.
Shorey said: “What is different about our tours is that they are educational and cultural, not a holiday. Young people will learn new skills.”
The operator also plans to develop more partnerships with schools and expand its offering, which is currently 85%-90% football but also encompasses other team sports such as netball, hockey and rugby.
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