A new Tyneside company offering an innovative approach to travel risk reduction, management and support in the corporate and business sectors, has launched using the latest military expertise and planning.

Virtus Global has been set up by former Royal Marine Commando Ian Smith to offer one-stop travel planning, which includes specialist expertise in protection for businesses and their work force, regardless of where they are in the world.

Thirty-six-year-old Ian Smith, who is originally from Cramlington, is a former commando with 45 Royal Marines. He served tours of duty on the frontline in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the UK’s military deployment.

After leaving the forces and spending time working in various international maritime and land-based security and risk advisory roles, he saw the need to bring together the two areas of travel management and risk reduction to enable business to travel more safely.

He said: “Ordinary travel agencies lack an understanding of risk reduction and management, while previously, risk management companies have specialised only in so-called ‘high risk’ areas of the world. 

“However, we live in an increasingly hostile world, where even local travel carries its own risks. So, by bringing travel planning and risk reduction into a single operation, we can provide a unique service for businesses.

“We can help companies manage better the exposure of their employees to risk, and we can help travellers to be better prepared. Drawing on our knowledge and resources we can provide them with a range of single sourced, cost effective solutions, which deliver peace of mind.”

Newcastle-based business Virtus Global is believed to be the only company in the UK offering such a comprehensive service. Ian Smith and his team of specialists can create a tailor-made travel plan, including risk analysis, evacuation and emergency response planning, close protection and crisis management where necessary.

They have a genuine interest in the safety of company employees when travelling away from the office, and their services allow companies to operate both remote or hostile locations – or both. This includes South America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, as well as in areas that were previously considered ‘safe’.

The company can also provide specialist aviation and accommodation services as well as close protection as part of a package of measures for companies and individuals looking to develop business in new regions that they might have concerns about visiting.

Already supporting clients ranging from the corporations to high net-worth individuals, Virtus Global expects to secure further work over the next 12 months as demand for its expertise grows. This will embrace increasing requirements for its corporate travel services, which include travel awareness and hostile environment awareness training courses. 

Tailor made reports detailing a specific country’s political situation, kidnap threat, level of crime and the threat of natural disaster will also be offered to customers requiring more extensive support as they plan their export growth. More at www.virtusglobal.co.uk