Athletes travel service business wins top medal of its own

Author - Helen Cartwright

Date published:

Newcastle-based Nirvana Europe, which provides specialist travel services to professional and amateur athletes, has been awarded Small Business of the Year by the Chamber.  

Based in Wallsend, Nirvana’s staff are all local to the North East, represent the region on an international stage when travelling around the world to sporting events.  

The company supplies services to individual athletes, spectators, officials, and teams travelling to compete and support major global sports events, ranging from the local Great North Run to the Paralympics.  

The postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics greatly affected Nirvana Europe. But despite losing 15 permanent staff and 41 temporary workers as a result of the pandemic, Nirvana has survived and now has a growth plan in place for the future.  

One of the most prestigious contracts the business has won is with IRONMAN, as it has been appointed the organisation’s travel and accommodation partner for both Europe and North America.  

Nigel Morris, managing director, Nirvana Europe said: “We are thrilled to receive this Small Business Award from the Chamber.  It is a fantastic achievement for the whole team at Nirvana, reflecting everyone’s loyalty and hard work over the last fifteen months.  It has been a very tough period for travel and as a business, we have had to make some really difficult decisions to remain viable.  However, we are now beginning to see a strong recovery in the sports tourism market with booking numbers steadily increasing and as a result, we are able to start rebuilding our team.  I am confident that we will come out of the coronavirus crisis stronger and more resilient as a business.” 

Colin Bell, Business and Sector Growth Director, North East LEP which sponsored the category and judged entries said: “Nirvana demonstrated resilience, ambition (yet caution) and genuinely seemed like a group of people loving what they do and wanting to be the best – all the while flying the flag for the North East. The fact they have survived COVID in the industry they are in and have a refocused growth plan was great to hear.”  

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