ITC Travel Group has recruited its first cruise consultant as it looks quadruple its turnover across the business over the next 12 months.

Pete Wellman joined ITC, after five years at OTA Cruise.co.uk where he held the same position, to help boost cruise trade sales.

Director of agency sales Lee Marshall said appointing Wellman was both a “natural step” and a necessary one for the luxury specialist tour operator because growth was being impeded without having someone in the role.

Marshall said: “He is our outward-facing advocate for cruise. Twenty people [at ITC] sell cruise, but they service it with other luxury holidays.”

Wellman said: “I am going to be the main seller for cruise. It is a really good chance to grow something as ITC is looking to invest heavily in the trade.”

Wellman, who will primarily be home based, will report into sales manager for homeworkers, Claire Hancock.

Marshall is targeting a £10million turnover by the end of 2019 – up from £2.5m this year.

Wellman was introduced to agents on a fam trip to Mallorca, Spain, to see Regent Seven Seas’ Explorer and Voyager ships on November 9.

Next year, ITC will start hosting meet-the-team events quarterly at its Chester HQ where agents can meet Wellman.

“I think it is about raising our visibility,” Marshall added. “We are starting to see cruise business from those agents that work with competitors that do not have the same breadth of product as us.”

Marshall said around half of the 30 agents ITC sells cruises through have started to engage with the company this year.

Wellman, who joined last month, has been tasked with developing partnerships with river, expedition and premium lines which do not consider themselves luxury brands.

“[ITC Travel Group chief executive] Mal Barritt and I are meeting with a number of key operators in the coming weeks,” Marshall said.

“Yes, our heritage is luxury, but we see the market growing to encompass all of these elements – luxury is a very broad church, but all of our clients want to be inspired, so our expansion into these markets sits perfectly with our brand.”