A new luxury tour operator specialising in positive-impact, tailor-made milestone trips has officially launched.
London-based SevenTravel was created during the pandemic by Angelee Rathor (pictured) alongside her business partner Bal Sohal, chief executive of privately-owned property group SevenCapital.
It has now gone on sale having built its team and brand, and confirmed its first sale – a honeymoon to the Maldives.
Rathor founded SevenEvents in 2009, a business which organises high-profile global events.
The SevenTravel team includes head of product Michael Fleetwood, formerly of Abercrombie & Kent and Cox & Kings; ex Quintessentially Travel marketing lead Nabila Richardson; and head of content Rhodri Andrews, who has joined from Turquoise Holidays.
The company is Abta and Atol accredited and is part of Hays Travel Independence Group consortium. It will sell via travel agents as well as direct to customers.
Rathor said the ambition was to create once-in-a-lifetime and bespoke experiences, typically for 10 days or more, with a key focus on responsible, sustainable travel.
SevenTravel can help clients rent private islands in the Indian Ocean, go behind the scenes in one of Sri Lanka’s national parks or experience a tea ceremony in a private Machiya in Kyoto.
It works with third party company, Ecollective, to measure its environmental impact, and by 2035 intends to have reduced its carbon footprint by 90% through a combination of carbon reduction and offsetting.
For every client that books with SevenTravel, the brand will donate £50 to its Positive Future Fund, which works with a collection of global charities to support and empower local communities and conservancies.
The company has also joined industry initiatives Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency and the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism.
“Some people probably thought I was a raving lunatic [for launching a travel company during the pandemic] but it’s been really well-received,” Rathor said.
“There were a lot of companies that closed their doors as soon as the pandemic hit. We just don’t have that mindset so we’ve been working the whole time, being innovative and coming up with new ideas.
“I see starting a new travel company at this time as an opportunity because had I looked at [doing] this five years ago… there were bigger players with very loyal customers.
“People have changed the way that they do things generally. Even when you go out to buy a new jumper, how you did it two years ago might be completely different to how you do it today. We’re thinking about how ethical things are and have more of a thought process before just going and buying something.
“I’ve found some very like-minded people to help me start the team. It’s a brave move joining a start-up, so I’ve been very honest from day one that we’ll be wearing many hats and making sure that we have a company that launches with a bit of an oomph to the market.”
Richardson added: “We really want to create experiences that will wow our clients – something that they won’t find in a guidebook, isn’t easily found on Google and that you can’t really book yourself.
“Our team on the product side [will be] working with our partners and our network around the world to find specialists in all of the destinations that we will take our clients to so that we can cherry pick and find those amazing experiences that will really get you under the skin of a destination and show you why it’s unique.”
SevenTravel launches with a website, seventravel.co.uk, where a global calendar inspires travellers with suggested experiences and when and where to travel.
Rathor, whose team of eight is based in an office in Mayfair, intends to grow the sales team further in March and later plans to open an office in the US.