Chris North returns to travel industry for ‘dream’ role

Former Vertical Systems managing director Chris North has returned to the travel industry after a six-month sabbatical in a move described as “a dream come true”.

North, who left his role at the travel technology company in August last year, has been appointed as the chief executive of new brand The Big Golf Company and as a director of The Big Journey Company.

He said: “After careful consideration and reflection on my passions, I am thrilled to announce my transition into a new role that perfectly merges my enthusiasm for adventure travel and golf.”

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North plans to introduce technological changes at The Big Journey Company, an escorted tours provider formed in 2008, while leading the growth of The Big Golf Company.

The new brand is “Big Journeys incorporating golf”, said North, with “amazing excursions” being offered between golf sessions. When golf is being played, non-golfers will have the chance to go on their own activities.

Some of the world’s leading courses will be included in trips, with examples including ‘Teeth of the Dog’ in the Dominican Republic – widely considered to be the best course in the Caribbean.

“I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity to pursue a path that so closely matches my passions,” said North.

“I’m excited for the adventures that lie ahead and grateful for the chance to turn my love for exploration and golf into a fulfilling career. Truly, I am a very lucky individual.”

In the coming months, North plans to launch new brands under the The Big Journey Company umbrella. He intends to expand into cruise, retreats and events.

“They’re ambitious plans, but we’ve had a huge investment which allows us to attack those ambitious plans,” North told Travel Weekly.

He added that The Big Journey Company, which has 12 homeworking staff based around the world, has a repeat booking rate of 38%.

North, who left Vertical Systems after 25 years, started his career in the luxury sector at Vertical Travel Group.

He continues to be a trustee at Abta LifeLine, and said he remains committed to promoting positive mental health and wellbeing within the travel industry.

The Big Journey Company founder Sohrab Jahromi said: “I first crossed paths with Chris nine years ago and we have maintained contact ever since.

“His remarkable energy, drive, and wealth of experience will significantly transform our businesses and will be instrumental in realising our ambitious growth strategies.”

The Big Golf Company will sell through the trade as well as direct to consumers, with The Big Journey Company selling through both channels too.

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