Distant Journeys targets growth following £15.2m investment

Long-haul escorted tour operator Distant Journeys is targeting expansion following a £15.2 million investment from UK-focused investor Mobeus.

The direct-sell operator was established in 2014 by Richard Hanson, Andrew Laycock and Simon Whittle, offerings tours to Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan and Sri Lanka.

Mobeus said it invested £15.2 million as a “combined debt and equity package as part of a buyout of founder shareholders”.

With the new funding, Distant Journeys plans to enhance its offerings in established markets and expand into new destinations. It will also upgrade its sales and customer engagement systems.

Richard Bowden-Doyle becomes chairman, experience from his tenure at industry giants such as Thomson Holidays, Thomas Cook and Lastminute.com, along with leadership roles at Saga Travel Group, Titan Travel UK and Neilson Active Holidays. Daniel Acarnley joins the board as commercial director following roles at ITC and Destinology, while Ewan Moore, who spent many years at Riviera Travel, will serve as finance director.

Whittle remains as managing director, along with existing senior managers Lee Patterson, head of operations; Liz Reddy, head of product; Kayley Fernandes, head of marketing; and Julia Kidd, head of sales and organisational development.

Whittle said: “Mobeus have been long-standing investors in the travel industry with past and present investments including Iglu, Active Travel Group and bonding provider AUG.

“When we met them, it was clear they quickly understood what made Distant Journeys special and immediately focused on how to support our growth aspirations and help us to maximise our vision for the business.

“We are really excited to be working alongside the Mobeus team and welcome our new team members Richard, Dan and Ewan who will support our excellent senior leadership team.”

Ashley Broomberg, Mobeus managing partner, commented: “We invest in high growth businesses, partnering with great teams which have an ambition to take their business to the next level.

“We are therefore delighted to be working with Simon and the high-quality team at Distant Journeys.

“They have a passion for excellent customer service and delivering best in class travel experiences to their clients. In this industry, that is the essential ingredient for success and we look forward to working alongside them as they build on that success by further enhancing their operational capability and expanding their geographic footprint.”

Chris Photi, head of travel and leisure at White Hart Associates, said on LinkedIn: “White Hart Associates were delighted to support Mobeus with their £15.2 million investment in award-winning escorted tours specialist Distant Journeys UK.

“Our travel advisory team helped to facilitate the necessary regulatory approvals.

“Distant Journeys is a remarkably fast-growing brand in the travel sector which is underpinned by their excellent management team and product offering.

“I have no doubt that their partnership with Mobeus will be a successful one and we look forward to watching this exciting new chapter unfold.”

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