Specialist sports travel company International Sports Tours has acquired rival Tours 4 Sport.
The move enables Cardiff-based IST, which trades under the inspiresport brand, to expand in the school sport tours sector. The acquisition of Tours 4 Sport comes after a “significant” investment by leading investment company Finance Wales.
The deal reinforces IST’s growth strategy to become one of the UK’s leading sports travel companies. The company, established in 2004, works with 5,500 schools to enable pupils to train with professional coaching staff at top clubs and training venues.
Founder and managing director Tom Shorey said: “The deal is a good fit for us and widens our product offering and adds to our customer base and future order book for 2011 and 2012.”
He added: “Our success in the last few years against a backdrop of difficult economic conditions is based on making dreams come true for young people.
“We deliver once in a lifetime sports development programmes at the top football and rugby clubs around the world.
“Our plan is to make the football and rugby sports tour to a professional club an important part of the sports development strategy at a school.
“Ultimately we want it to become an integral annual fixture that will be enjoyed by even more than the 120,000 pupils who attend a school ski trip each year.
“We are confident we will continue to grow fast organically but may look for other add-ons that fit strategically with our future growth ambitions.”
Tours 4 Sport managing director Daniel Smith said: “The synergy between the two companies is clear as although both operate within the sports tours market they are serving different niches within it.
“Both companies have excellent reputations within the travel industry and more importantly with our clients, so working together we expect to significantly grow our share of the sports tours market in the UK.”