Sports travel specialist hires former Comtec boss

The former boss of travel technology firm Comtec has joined forces with three other Welsh travel entrepreneurs to invest in Cardiff-based sports travel specialist Inspiresport.

Simon Powell has teamed up with former Comtec financial director Matt Wakerley to bring in former Thomas Cook tour operations managing director Richard Calvert and US-based aviation specialist Jonathan Baldwin.

The quartet has injected £340,000 into the firm along with its existing shareholders including Finance Wales as it embarks on a new development strategy.

Inspiresport organises coach trips for schools and sports clubs, and since its launch in 2004, has taken more than 30,000 youngsters to training camps across the UK and Europe.

The firm has exclusive agreements with some of the top sporting clubs around the globe and last year won exclusive rights to the training facilities of the Spanish Football Association.

Inspiresport managing director Tom Shorey said: “We have a proven track record in the field of sport travel and the business is currently exceeding targets.

“Total customers in 2011 are approximately 14% up on 2010 and whilst we work with almost 400 schools across the UK, 70% of our business is repeat customers returning annually. So there is significant growth potential and certainly scope for expansion into new areas.

“For the company to achieve its true potential I needed to introduce some travel industry knowledge and experience to the team.

“I feel this key building block for the business in now in place and combined with the sports marketing knowledge of existing senior management the Cardiff-based company has the perfect opportunity to become a major force within the UK sports travel market.”

Powell, who will become non-executive chairman, added: “We have already identified a number of opportunities to build and expand upon the significant success of this tailored service, and will be looking in detail at processes, IT systems, distribution channels and sales opportunities to ensure that the knowledge and experience of the management team are fully utilised and that the customer experience is continually improved.

“It is great to be part of a Welsh investment consortium supporting a successful Welsh business and helping it flourish even further.”

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