Travel industry stalwart Matthew Cheetham is joining direct-sell long-haul escorted tour specialist Distant Journeys as CEO.

Cheetham said the operator will look at using other channels to market “if the economics works for Distant Journeys and the intermediary/agent”.

The operator’s core programme covers escorted tours to Australasia with other destinations being added such as South Africa, China and India. The longer duration tours of 30 days or more appeal to retired couples.

Cheetham joins Distant Journeys after a period working for private equity in financial services.

He was previously CEO of Eurocamp and prior to that ran Tradewinds. He continues to be non-executive chairman at Rock Insurance.

He will be responsible for continuing the growth and development in both product and distribution for the operator, based in Ormskirk, Lancashire.

Cheetham said: “I’ve followed the development of Distant Journeys with interest since its launch in 2014.

“I was part of a private equity team back in 2006 which unsuccessfully bid for its predecessor, Journeys of Distinction, so I know one of Distant Journeys founders, Andrew Laycock.

“I’m joining at an exciting time with new products already contracted and we are looking to broaden our appeal to a wider target market by offering more choices in terms of destinations and duration of holiday, with more flexibility for our customers.

“The brochure launch in a couple of months will give all of the exciting details.”

MoreMeet the MD: Matthew Cheetham, Tradewinds Apr 2000