Inside Travel Group seeks fresh funding to double size of business

Inside Travel Group – parent of InsideJapan and InsideAsia – is seeking to raise capital from new investors to help double the size of the business by 2026.

The Bristol-based Asia specialist has recovered to 2019 levels of business over the past year, following the reopening of destinations such as Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand.

The company announced “significant new investment” from Blandford Capital LLP in June 2022 to fuel growth as Covid travel restrictions eased.

Now it is seeking fresh funding from new investors to support further expansion following its “rapid post-pandemic recovery”, said co-founder Simon King. The Company recently appointed Clearwater International to advise on strategic options.

In March 2020, Inside Travel Group’s key destinations closed their borders earlier and for much longer than most countries, prompting annual sales to plunge from £50 million to “almost zero overnight”.

However, now the group says it is “in an even better position than it was before the pandemic”.

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As well as its UK base, the specialist travel group has offices in Colorado in the US and Brisbane in Australia, plus its own operations offices in Japan.

Just over half (52%) of its business comes from the UK and a growing portion of that is from the trade. This year, sales from agents represent about 35% of overall bookings in the UK.

The group said it has also achieved “critical mass” in the US, which provides 33% of business, and it sees “a lot of growth potential” in Australia, which represents 15% of sales.

This year, InsideJapan has seen numbers on a par with the record figures it saw in 2019.

It has booked 10,000 clients to Japan for 2023 and aims to have about 20,000 travelling by 2026.

Overall, the group carries about 15,000 people a year.

King said: “As well as an incredible 2023, 2024 numbers for InsideJapan also look set to exceed records.

“Our InsideAsia brand has also surpassed previous years, now representing 10% of company revenue and only looks set to grow. We are seeing growth all over the business.

“These are very exciting times for us as a business. We have a record 2024 ahead of us and so much potential for growth in all our markets.”

Furthermore, the group has returned to a similar workforce to 2019, with about 180 staff globally, following the recruitment of more than 75 new colleagues this year.

“As well as welcoming back already trained returning staff, there have been some significant appointments and into significant roles,” said King.

The travel trade team has seen new recruits, including Gabo Quiros as UK trade manager and Holly Brown as business development manager.

“The trade is critical to growth plans. We are looking to grow and develop trade business in proportion to the overall growth targets,” added King.

“We will be announcing more trade plans as we move into 2024 and we can’t overstate the importance of our trade partners and the part we hope that they will play in this exciting period for our company.”

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