John Boon, the head of membership services of the European Tour Operators Association, died April 22. Born May 16, 1943, Boon rose in the travel industry during a period when inbound tourism, and inbound group tourism in particular, dominated the industry. He started his career in Global Tours, moving to American Express in his mid-20s as a regional contracts manager for U.K. and Ireland, and later Scandinavia. According to a statement from ETOA, "John developed a formidable reputation for companionable cunning in negotiations, a reputation that he carried with him throughout his career. John's ability to engage with people, and his detailed knowledge of the product, helped him in his subsequent position in charge of sales and operations for the entire inbound division of American Express U.K. This role, which incorporated both corporate and leisure business, made him one of the leaders of tourism in Britain. He was thus a natural Chairman of the then British Incoming Tour Operators Association (now UKinbound)."
Boon was managing director of Sovereign Tourism from 1986 to 1991, and later of Select Travel, and was appointed chairman of the International Chapters of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). He became head of contracts and operations at JAC Travel in 2008. In January 2010 he joined the European Tour Operators Association as head of membership services. In February, he received a Lifetime Achievement award from UKinbound at its Annual Conference. He was working on forging new alliances for ETOA when he was diagnosed with cancer in mid-April. While apparently recovering well from an operation, he suffered a fatal heart attack. He is survived by a daughter, Georgia. For more information, see www.etoa.org.
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