Tributes paid to industry veteran and ‘legend’ Derek Moore

Former Aito chairman and co-founder of Explore Worldwide Derek Moore has died.

The Specialist Travel Association (Aito) issued a message to its members on Monday morning to confirm the news.

The association’s head of commercial Bharat Gadhoke said: “This has come as an absolute shock. He was at Aito’s conference in Braga, Portugal, only recently. He was the thread that ran through Aito – Aito was in his blood.

“He really was a legend and he was always professional and very knowledgeable – he was the one you turned to.”

Moore, Aito deputy chairman, was 77 and had been involved with The Specialist Travel Association (Aito) for nearly 20 years. He was chairman of Aito for 14 years and went on to become its deputy chair.

He set up touring operator Explore in 1981 and in recent years created The Derek Moore Foundation and wrote a book about his life and career two years ago at the age of 75.

Moore had been battling cancer for several years but continued to attend events.

An email sent to Aito members this morning from chairman Chris Rowles and executive director Martyn Sumners said: “It is with great sadness that I have to announce the passing of Aito deputy chair Derek Moore.

“Derek had not been well for a while, however he battled on, attending as many Aito events as he could and being fully involved with Council and the strategic review.”

It added: “The word legend is too often used, but as far as specialist travel is concerned Derek was most definitely a legend. We all owe him a great deal for his contribution to the travel industry.

“Our best wishes are with [wife] Amelia and the boys at this difficult time. RIP Derek.”

Noel Josephides, an Aito director since 1988 and former Abta chairman, worked with Moore for several decades on key industry issues.

He said: “Derek was an excellent front man for Aito.  He had a brilliant turn of phrase, an ability to grasp an issue very quickly and an enormous depth of knowledge of the industry – and, of course, of what it takes to create and run a highly successful independent specialist company.

“He was a pioneer in every sense of the word, in the days when tour operating was fun, and not controlled by accountants. We will all miss his sound counsel, and also his sense of humour.”

Aito said there had been a flood of messages from members paying tribute to  Moore, many with stories of how he introduced them to the travel industry and influenced their careers.

He started his career initially as a geography teacher but switched to working as a tour guide, driving trucks with tour operator Penn Overland to India for many years, before setting up Explore with Travers Cox.

The association said it had been a “huge shock” to receive a call from his wife Amelia this morning and added: “Our thoughts are primarily with her and their children, of course.”

Sumners said: “Having worked with Derek on and off for over 20 years, I never stopped learning from him.  He had a real ability to make a strong point in an erudite way, and was more than happy to share his knowledge and experience whenever you needed advice.  

“He loved Aiot with such a passion that he wanted to be fully involved as much as possible, sitting on many sub-committees as well as taking his responsibilities as both an officer and as a council member very seriously.  

“RIP my friend – you will be sorely missed by not only me and the Aito family, but by all of the specialist travel industry.”

Related Articles

Seabourn appoints Tom Andrews as UK and EMEA sales director

Tourism Australia appoints Andrew Boxall as UK general manager

Prestige Travel expands sales team after ‘record-breaking’ March