Our History

Established in 1974, we pioneered the concept of luxury travel in the UK. Over 45 years later we remain privately owned and our unrivalled experience and close relationships with the world's finest hotels mean the Inspiring Travel Company can tailor trips across the world to suit your unique needs. Additionally, we now offer a whole world of travel experiences as well as our luxury offerings, so should you wish to explore the most fascinating and culturally rich destinations on an unforgettable tour or adventure, we’re experts in that, too.

Our business began in Chester, where our HQ remains to this day. Founder Drew Foster fell in love with the 'Platinum Coast' of Barbados and this was where he began sending discerning clients. Things blossomed from there, and the business expanded under the name ‘Caribbean Connection’. Always a pioneering force in the travel industry, we were even one of the first UK tour operators to charter Concorde flights to Barbados. Twenty years later, Drew Foster himself piloted innovative sports tours, taking cricket fans to watch West Indies Test matches, coupled with luxury accommodation and sensational hosting. Today that bright idea has become a company of its own - Spectate Travel (formerly ITC Sports Travel).

While our unerring commitment to quality and the highest levels of service has never wavered, plenty more has changed over four decades in the business. ITC Sports Travel was joined by Horse Racing Abroad, and Chester travel agents Deva Travel became part of our prestigious travel group. Then 2015 saw the acquisition of an entirely new travel group, bringing Western & Oriental, Regent Holidays, Rainbow Tours and Villa Select under the ITC Travel Group banner.

Over the years there have been a few ‘reinventions’ of our brand. ‘Caribbean Connection’ evolved to become Classic Connection, then ITC Classics and after that ITC Luxury Travel. As the global market develops we continue to move forward and innovate and so in 2017 we took on our new name: the Inspiring Travel Company. In 2018, we took sister company Western & Oriental’s experiential and tailor-made portfolio under our wing, expanding our collection to include even more amazing destinations and fantastic places to stay.

With Western & Oriental came a wealth of first-hand experience and expert insight on countries and cultures around the world. We’re proud to offer a huge range of diverse and exciting holiday types, with something to suit every traveller. In 2006 Western & Oriental took Ranch America, Ski the American Dream and Hawaiian Dream into their portfolio; further acquisitions included Harlequin Worldwide Travel, a luxury Caribbean Specialist; South American Experience, an expert in South and Central America group travel; and Made to Measure, providers of luxury tailor-made ski, lake and mountain holidays to Europe and Canada. This truly diverse portfolio is something Inspiring Travel Company is proud to have, and was the master plan of then Chairman Jennifer Atkinson. 

Jennifer became Chief Operating Officer of the then ‘ITC group’ in 2009, and was quickly promoted to CEO following the sad and sudden death of our founder Drew Foster, a figure whose passion for travel lives on in the company today. At a difficult time for the company, financially and otherwise, Jennifer’s passion and drive began to turn things around, building the Inspiring Travel Company and wider International Travel Connections Ltd that you see today. In 2018 Jennifer became Chairman of the International Travel Connections Ltd.

Following the acquisition of the Western & Oriental Travel Group, there were plenty more exciting developments to come. In the summer of 2016 the Inspiring Travel Company starred in the BBC Two documentary, 'The Millionaires' Holiday Club', showcasing the world’s more exclusive and decadent luxury holidays. The same year, NorthEdge Capital gave its backing by investing in a majority stake to support the business to deliver on planned investment in IT, management, staff, product, and customer service. In January 2020 Phil Aird-Mash joined our company as CEO, bringing years of experience across the world of travel with him, and plenty of big ideas for the future.

The amalgamation of so many travel brands has created the Inspiring Travel Company of today, which offers its clients a rich, varied and truly global selection of travel experiences and holidays. Meanwhile, Regent Holidays and Rainbow Tours have remained stand-alone brands to offer a specialist travel service in their distinct remits. Equally, Spectate Travel has gone from strength to strength, specialising in truly personalised sporting holidays to the world's most famous and sought-after events. 

With over 40 years of history and experience behind us we still believe that this is just the beginning for the Inspiring Travel Company and the International Travel Connections Ltd as a whole. Why not be a part of our continuing journey?

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