The four Operators were appointed after a competitive tender process and will be able to sell official ticket-inclusive travel and/or hospitality packages from the beginning of January 2008.
The British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa takes place in June and July 2009, and commenting on the appointments John Feehan, the British Lions Limited chief executive, said: "The appointed Licensed Operators are the only companies entitled to provide official tickets combined with travel and/or hospitality in South Africa 2009."
Indications suggest that the Lions tour to South Africa in 2009 is set to be the biggest yet, and Feehan added: "The interest is phenomenal and we estimate that there could be tens of thousands of fans making the trip. It is important to highlight that fans obtaining tickets from unofficial sources run the risk of having those tickets cancelled."
The appointed Official Licensed Operators are:
England Rugby Travel
â€¢ www.englandrugbytravel.com or 0870 120 1111
Gullivers Sports Travel
â€¢ www.gulliversports.co.uk or 01684 293175
â€¢ www.sportsworld.co.uk or 01235 555844
Thomas Cook Sport
â€¢ www.thomascooksport.com or 0207 104 2060
For more information on the Official Licensed Operator programme please visit www.lionstour.com, the official website for Lions Tour Limited.
Lions Tour Limited was appointed to exclusively manage the Official Licensed Operator programme for the 2009 Lions tour to South Africa, recommending for appointment a network of specialist travel and hospitality agents and managing the tickets allocated to the travel and hospitality programme for all of the provincial fixtures and the three test matches.
For further information on the British & Irish Lions please contact Christine Connolly on +353 (0)1669 1441 or email Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information on Lions Tour Limited please contact Justin Hopwood on +44 (0)1452 892025 or email email@example.com.