Klaus Billep also known as Mr.Travel passed away in Santa Monica

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“It’s with great sadness to learn Klaus Billep, a good personal friend and loyal reader and supporter of eTurboNews passed away. Klaus was a true leader in the global travel and tourism industry community and a mentor for many.Klaus was always there when needed. If was his influence that made our Nepal Tourism Summit at the Queen Mary  in June of 2016 a huge success.  Klaus was a member of our International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) He will be missed.”, said Juergen Steinmetz, publisher of eTurboNews.”

Originally from Duesseldorf, Germany Klaus loved his home of choice, Santa Monica, California. His travel agency Universal Travel Systems is a known luxury tour operators with an excellent reputation.

Klaus Billep was also known in the travel industry as “Mr. Travel” is living encyclopedia of travel industry. Mr. Billep was president and owner of Universal Travel System (UTS) that specializes in very unusual destinations (Somalia, Afghanistan, North Korea, Iraq and other unusual destinations), one of the oldest US Tour Operators formed in 1971. Highly experienced travel executive, he has visited more than 150 countries around the world. He was also a chairman of the prestigious Travelers Century Club (TCC) where only people that visited at least 100 countries can be members. He was a member of the Executive Board of Directors for Mediterra.

Klaus was educated at Lecole Lemania in Lausanne, Switzerland and at the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland. He spoke English, German, French, and Italian.

Anastasia Mann, CEO of Corniche Entertainment said in her message to Klaus’ wife Stephanie: “Like every person touched by Klaus’ Sweet heart and lifelong generosity, I’m stunned and deeply pained by this news. “Sadness” doesn’t begin to touch the feelings. He’s been a mammoth figure in my life for so many years I cannot try to count. A trusted friend. I’m so very sorry. There just are not enough words.”

Peter Katz, former director of the Austrian Tourist Office in Western USA said: “Klaus, you will be missed be so many people in the travel industry who’s lives you touched over so many years. I am thankful that I knew and always enjoyed being in your company. My condolences Steph. Rest in peace!” 

Many more messages are being posted to Klaus’ social media channels. “Rest In Peace Klaus, Your we’re full of Wisdom & above all a Gentleman! You will be missed!”

Klaus Billep was a specialist in creating International Trips to Obscure Countries. It’s what he stated on his Facebook page.

Klaus loved the Travelers Century Club and in 2013 and once said in an interview as their chairman: “I tell people you’re going to need $2 million (to travel almost constantly) and a very understanding spouse unless you’re taking them along. “More than anything, TCC is a social group,” said Klaus Billep, “It started at country clubs in Los Angeles before jets and the ability to get places caused an explosion of travel agents.”

In 2004 PATA Klaus  Billep was honored with the PATA award of Merit for the Southern California Chapter of PATA. The award was presented to Billep for his dedicated services and contributions to PATA for over 40 years. He was the organizer of the SoCal PATA Chapter in 1965. This dedication to PATA continued for another 14 years.

Klaus was also a devoted SKAL member and a board member of SKAL USA for the Los Angeles chapter.

From 1985 to 1987 Klaus Billep was the President of the Southern California chapter of ASTA.

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Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.