Asia Pacific tourism pioneer dies at 97

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The Pacific Asia Travel Association’s former president and tourism pioneer Matt Lurie has died, PATA has confirmed. According to an email correspondence within PATA, Lurie “died peacefully yesterday, just a few weeks after his 97th birthday.”

Ian Kennedy said; “It can be said that Matt was the epitome of a PATA member of the first generation, passionate about the goals and values of the Association and dedicated in his support of it. He is, I believe, the last of those who were present at that notorious meeting in Honolulu in 195? when Loren Thurston and friends decided it was time to create the body which ultimately became the PATA of today.”

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Kennedy added: “Matt was there from the beginning – and he remained engaged with the association until his retirement from the industry in 2002. Over some five decades he had worked in tourism in Pacific/Asia for a variety of significant organizations including British Caledonian Airlines, Qantas, Matson Shipping Lines, Avis, Travelodge; and bought all of them and many others into the PATA fold.”

PATA CEO Martin Craigs said: “Matt clearly deserves far more than a conventional vote of thanks. His forward looking observations even in recent years were an inspiration to next generation activism at PATA.”

Mr. Lurie was elected as PATA president twice–1967 and 1968, then was awarded “Life Membership” in 1976. “A few of the more memorable interventions which bear Matt’s name are his review and revision of the PATA Constitution in 1973 ; the establishment of a Pacific Division Office in Sydney in 1981; and the co authorship of a two part History of PATA.”

eTN is following this developing story. Look for an update in the coming days.