Stanley Tollman, founder and chairman of the Travel Corporation (TTC), has died at the age of 91 following a battle with cancer.
Tollman created and presided over the successful international travel group which encompasses more than 40 brands - including Trafalgar, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, Insight Vacations, Contiki Holidays and Red Carnation Hotels.
He also led pioneering, sustainable travel endeavours through the not-for-profit TreadRight Foundation.
Tollman carefully oversaw TTC, maintaining an uncompromising commitment to offering the highest standards.
Internationally, each brand is strategically positioned and is clearly differentiated in its market sector.
From an employee development perspective, across all brands and businesses is the ethos first and continuously lived out by Tollman: genuine care for the people of TTC, their clients, partners and staff.
Chief executive of luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent, Geoffrey Kent, was among the first to pay tribute.
He said: “One of the most amazing figures in travel and tourism has left us - his name is Stanley Tollman.
“I have known him and his lovely wife Bea since I met them for the first time in 1972 in the Tollman Towers, a brand-new hotel they had just built in Johannesburg in 1970.
“Our travel paths have been closely linked over the years.
“Stan and his lovely family were always on the cutting edge in the travel industry and continually creating new products run with consummate style.
“They made so many people so very happy.”
The Tollman family’s success with TTC was always driven by the entrepreneurial and industrial spirit of the patriarch.
Tollman has been unwavering in his insistence that family bonds must never compromised.
From the beginning his partnership with his wife Beatrice, known universally as Bea, to whom he has been married for 67 years, provided Tollman with the love, support, confidence and complementary expertise needed to courageously venture out into the global tourism world.
Three of the Tollman’s four children – Toni, Brett and Vicki – are today central to TTC’s operations, as are Gavin, the son of his late brother Arnold, and Michael, a nephew.
Beyond them, grandchildren are now forming part of the fourth generation of Tollmans within the expanding operation.
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “We in Ireland are eternally grateful for the lasting impact and legacy of Stanley Tollman.
“His vision, positivity and values left a positive influence on us all.
“The investment of Red Carnation Hotels into Ashford Castle has meant Ireland continues to punch above its weight on the world stage.
“The consequential impact on rural Ireland cannot be overstated.
“Our thoughts are with his wife Bea and entire family at this time.”