ABTA was deeply saddened to hear of the death this week of Eric Sutherland who was President of the Association from 1983-1986. Eric was also President of UFTAA [The United Federation of Travel Agents’ Associations] in the 1970s and held senior positions at both Thomas Cook and Olympic Holidays.
In addition to holding the ABTA presidency Eric was Chairman of the Tour Operators Council from 1981-1983 and in his time at UFTAA he was instrumental in getting IATA to raise airline commission from 8% to 9%.
After retiring Eric remained actively involved in the trade in the Thomas Cook retiree club and was known for his affable, sociable nature and was still travelling widely.
John McEwan ABTA Chairman paid tribute: “I had the pleasure of knowing Eric for many years. We worked together at Thomas Cook, where he occupied a numbers of senior positions and made a great contribution to the development of the business. Eric was a leader in the industry and played a prominent role in the development of ABTA. Eric will be sorely missed and our thoughts are with his family”.
Sidney Perez ABTA elder statesman and friend of Eric’s for many years: “I first met Eric when we worked closely together at Thomas Cook in the 1970s. Over the next 20 years my wife and I became good friends with Eric and his wife Penny. Both of them are now gone and they will be greatly missed. Eric gave unrivalled service to ABTA and even later in life was an active and adventurous traveller.”
Eric Sutherland leaves behind a daughter Chiara.