While sister companies Western & Oriental, Rainbow Tours, Villa Select, Regent Holidays, ITC Sports Travel and Horse Racing Abroad will keep their established names, the parent company ITC Luxury Travel Group will now be known as ITC Travel Group.
In addition, product portfolios across the group will be grown in order to define the specialist area of each individual tour operator.
“Since our founding in 1974, we have expanded considerably from our core product of ‘Caribbean beach holidays’, and while we will always remain experts in those glorious islands, we now offer clients a much wider choice,” said ITC Travel Group’s CEO Jennifer Atkinson.
“Today, the world is quite literally our clients’ oyster – from European city breaks to month-long Pacific cruises, a private jet to French Polynesia to a tailor-made Northern Lights tour in Lapland. We decided we needed a new name which would reflect the sheer variety of choice we offer, so we’re delighted to unveil the Inspiring Travel Company as the new name for ITC Luxury Travel.”
The new name follows a consultation process which included sourcing the opinions of travel agent partners, stakeholders and customers for their insights into each brand.
Inspiring Travel Company is born from the abbreviation ITC, which previously stood for International Travel Connections. The company’s website will change to www.inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk, with traffic re-directed to that new address from the former site www.itcluxurytravel.co.uk.
The parent company has been re-named ITC Travel Group to better represent the breadth of trip styles, product and destinations offered across the complete group of tour operators. The company encompasses small group tours in Eastern Europe to self-catering rental villas in the Mediterranean, camping safaris in Africa and cultural itineraries in South America, appealing to a range of customers at different budget levels.
A new strapline – ‘Experts in the Extraordinary’ – is being employed group-wide to unify the sister companies.
“We specialise in different styles of travel, but the common threads that bind our brands are the expert staff who offer exceptional levels of personal service and knowledge to customers, agents and suppliers; fully tailor-made trips to suit the individual traveller; and access to the most exceptional experiences, whether that’s in the realm of ultra-luxe or pioneering destinations such as those offered by Regent,” said Atkinson. “Experts in the Extraordinary is a philosophy we deliver on every day as the ultimate travel concierge.”
Changes to product portfolios
As part of this next stage in its development, ITC Travel Group is taking the opportunity to expand the product portfolios of its tour operators in order to better define the distinct identity of each brand.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Rainbow Tours currently specialises in Africa and Latin America, with the majority of business centred around nature-focused itineraries in Southern and East Africa, Madagascar, and biodiverse rich destinations in Latin America such as Peru and Costa Rica.
To respond to this demand from its clients and to capitalise on the knowledge and experience of its team, Rainbow Tours will amplify its credentials as a wildlife and nature specialist and grow its portfolio to offer tailor-made trips worldwide. Amongst the new destinations being launched are Sri Lanka, India, Borneo and Canada, where travellers are drawn to seek out elephants, tigers, orang-utans, polar bears, whales and more.
Western & Oriental’s strength is in experiential travel and in crafting more complex, multi-centre itineraries to destinations such as North America, India and the Far East where travellers will often journey to several different places, opting for cultural tours, excursions and adventure activities along the way.
The tour operator will expand the destinations it currently features to launch Africa and Latin America programmes, complementing the more-specifically wildlife focused trips offered by Rainbow Tours. In addition, Western & Oriental will introduce trips to New Zealand, Iceland and the Philippines for the first time from the summer of 2017.
Inspiring Travel Company is increasing its collection of villas and luxury cruises to sit alongside its featured hotel, resort and private island offerings around the world. A ski programme is also being launched for the 2017/2018 season.
Villa Select is refreshing its portfolio of both resort-based and privately owned villas in Europe and beyond, recently announcing the introduction of Halkidiki and Madeira to its portfolio.
From North Korea to Nagorno-Karabakh and Albania to Abkhazia, Regent Holidays has a reputation for pioneering travel to undiscovered corners of the world. The tour operator will continue in this niche, with tours to Lebanon and Palestine set to launch this year.
“Our mission to strive for better and to keep our business forward-thinking in a world of fast-paced change is what has placed us as one of the UK’s leading luxury tour operators for more than four decades,” adds Atkinson.
“I don’t believe there’s another travel business around that offers a programme as comprehensive as ours across both luxury beach and tailor-made travel and that our breadth of choice and experience makes us stand out to discerning travellers in a crowded market place.”
1974: Caribbean Connection is founded in Chester by Drew Foster
1988: Caribbean Connection becomes one of the first tour operators to charter Concorde, with flights to Barbados
1989: A specialist sports tour division is set up, taking guests to the Caribbean for West Indies v England cricket
2001: Caribbean Connection is renamed ITC Classics
2004: Jennifer Atkinson joins ITC as head of marketing
2008: ITC Classics acquires Horse Racing Abroad, a specialist tour operator for the racing enthusiast
2009: Drew Foster appoints Jennifer Atkinson as CEO and sadly dies from cancer later that year
2014: ITC celebrates its 40th anniversary and changes the name of its luxury portfolio from ITC Classics to ITC Luxury Travel. In partnership with Paul Pindar, Jennifer Atkinson undertakes a management buy-out of the company
2015: ITC Luxury Travel Group acquires Western and Oriental Travel Ltd, bringing Western & Oriental, Rainbow Tours, Regent Holidays and Villa Select into its portfolio
2016: ITC Luxury Travel features in BBC Two documentary series The Millionaires’ Holiday Club and the group receives a new multi-million pound investment from NorthEdge Capital
2017: New brands ITC Travel Group and Inspiring Travel Company are unveiled