Boss sails away with top award

Winner: James Cole at the awards ceremony
Winner: James Cole at the awards ceremony

One of Chorley’s brightest business stars has been honoured at the annual travel industry Hall of Fame awards.

James Cole, who launched Cruise 118 with business partner Mal Barritt in 2008, was named young entrepreneur of the year at the prestigious ceremony in London.

The former Parklands High School pupil, who lives in Astley Village, said he was stunned to be recognised on the same night as top industry personalities.

The father-of-two said: “It was a real honour to even be nominated, but I really see it as a team award for everyone at Cruise 118 as I am only one cog in the wheel.

“It is testament to the hard work of the whole team and it is fantastic that the business was recognised. It was an incredibly humbling experience.”

The company director, who had always dreamed of owning his own business, launched Cruise 118 along with Mal after he left Thomas Cook where he ran MyTravel’s Cruise Store.

The venture, which now employs 60 people and is based at Moorland Gate Business Park, in Cowling Road, is expected to turnover in excess of £25m this year and record a six figure profit.

The 36-year-old added: “We have been trading less than three years and we have really built the business up over that time.

“We have signed some crucial deals with the likes of travelsupermarket.com and Directline Holidays.

“World Travel Holding, which is the world’s biggest cruise retail business, has also bought into the business and we have launched a whole range of new websites.”

In fact the trophy cabinet at Cruise 118’s HQ is already bursting with accolades, including for best cruise website and best agent website.

James said: “We are really pleased with what we are achieving. We are well on track with the targets we had set ourselves, which is great as we launched the business just before the recession hit.”

To find out more about what the business has to offer or book your trip, visit: www.cruise118.com