Specialist operator Magnetic North Travel has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2018.

The award, announced the Queen on her 92nd birthday, is in recognition of the company’s high growth in international sales over the last three years.

Leicestershire-based Magnetic North Travel specialises in tailor made holidays to Scandinavia, the Nordic countries and Canada with a focus on wilderness, nature and outdoor adventures for independent travellers and small groups.

The company was founded by Laura Greenman in 2009 with a strategy that allowed it to focus on sales to both the UK and international markets, providing a wider potential customer base while also protecting against potential fluctuations in the British economy.

That approach included almost a quarter of the company’s initial investment capital being spent on a website to enable direct sales and operating on a 24/7 basis to ensure enquiries made from outside the UK received responses appropriate to a customer’s time zone.

Skype, WhatsApp, Google Chat and Facebook messaging are all used as direct communications channels by staff to help facilitate holiday enquiries from across the globe.

Customers now hail from a number of countries including the UK, US, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

International bookings exceeded those from the UK for the first time in 2016-17.

Greenman said: “I wanted to launch Magnetic North Travel with a born-global philosophy to ensure that the company had a solid base from which to move forward and grow.

“While domestic clients have always been an important part of our strategy, being responsive to international requests has enabled us to facilitate bookings from a significantly larger customer base, allowing us to have strong, steady growth as a company.

“We have a dedicated team that works tirelessly to provide the best holiday experiences possible for those who travel with us.

“The team uses its expertise and in-depth destination knowledge to create tailor-made holidays that are truly unique for our customers – and our use of technology means we can be responsive to customer queries from around the world at times that suit our potential clients rather than ourselves.

“Winning a Queen’s Award is fantastic recognition for the hard work of the whole team here at Magnetic North Travel. We are all absolutely thrilled that our success has received such a high accolade.”