Owner of Middle East Tours Sandra Veness passes away


Sandra Veness, eTurboNews Ambassador from Australia, unexpectedly passed away on February 16, 2011 from a brain hemorrhage.

ETurboNews Publisher Juergen Thomas Steinmetz said, “Sandra was a great supporter of eTN and a good friend to all of us. She was a shining example of the spirit of tourism and made friends wherever she traveled.”

Sandra was a pioneer in Australian tourism and began escorting tour groups into the Middle East, Northern Africa, and the Gulf countries in 1994 and created her travel company, Middle East Tours, in 1996, with her office based in Australia.

She designed, organized, and personally escorted tour groups to Egypt, India, Pakistan, Iran, Qatar, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Oman, UAE, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, the Sudan, and Iraqi Kurdistan. Sandra was the first female tour operator to take a group to Saudi Arabia.

Sandra fell in love with the Middle East, and she passionately believed that tourism was about building bridges of humanity between Australians and the peoples and culture of the Middle East. Her sparkling personality and humble manner overcame visa problems and official restrictions for her groups traveling in the region, and in many traditional Middle East countries, she was treated by officials as an honorary man. She was recently elected Vice President of the Arab-Australia Chamber of Commerce.

ETurboNews Publisher Steinmetz concluded, “Sandra will be dearly missed by so many. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to her husband, Joe.”