AITO – The Specialist Travel Association

THE ‘TRAVEL LEGEND’ THAT WAS DEREK MOORE, RIP

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Derek Moore

Derek Moore was co-founder of Explore, a long-term AITO member, AITO Chairman for many years and, more recently, Deputy AITO Chairman and Eminence Grise

Derek Moore was a legend in his own time to many AITO (www.aito.com) members – and to others in the travel industry – so it was a huge shock to one and all to learn this morning of his death.  There has been an outpouring of fond comments and stories of how he introduced so many to the inspiring (and challenging) world of travel during his long tenure at Explore and since.

Explore, which he co-founded with Travers Cox in 1981 (42 years ago), became pre-eminent in the adventure travel market, with many ‘firsts’ to its name in terms of destinations and types of adventure travel, based around small groups with a tour leader.  The list of destinations was (and is still) enormous, and Explore also spawned many other companies over the years from people who were ‘Explore apprentices’ and who had learnt their trade under Derek and Travers.

There have been warm memories expressed by many such ‘Explore apprentices’ and shared with AITO members this morning – the unusual style of interview that they faced, and even (from Ashley Toft, now CEO of AITO member KE Adventure Travel, and former MD of Explore), the fact that he left his own interview with an air ticket, ready to join an Explore training session in Morocco!  (“I am also a product of those early Explore leader interviews, above the kebab shop in Aldershot, as are so many around the industry today. In my case, I left the interview with an airline ticket in my hand! It was a privilege to have worked with Derek – and Travers – in those early Explore days, and so great that he was still involved in AITO to the bitter end.”)

Latterly, Derek wrote a fascinating book about his life in the travel industry and he also set up a charity,

The Derek Moore Foundation, with the aim of giving back.  On this topic, he said:

“Over 40 years of working in travel and tourism – first as a tour leader and then as co-founder of the adventure travel company EXPLORE – has allowed me to travel to over 100 countries, many of them in the developing world.  Along with the fun and adventure that such travels brought, came the realisation of some serious truths: that education, together with support for health facilities, the nurturing of traditional art, music and crafts and the promotion of sport are all key to improving and changing lives in the disadvantaged communities of so many countries.

“Whilst major charities do so much good on a wider scale, help is also needed for numerous smaller community projects. Projects too small in scale to attract the interest of major charities; projects where even a donation of just a few thousand pounds can make a big difference at a community level.  It’s these smaller community projects that we are aiming to work with. So now, starting – and funding – the Derek Moore Foundation gives me the chance to give something back to the communities through which I have travelled.”

Martyn Sumners, Executive Director of AITO gives here his personal view of Derek:

“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 AITO 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.” Martyn Sumners, Executive Director of AITO

Derek sadly leaves his wife, Amelia, and two sons, Amani and Derek Junior (DJ).  AITO’s condolences go to his family and to his many friends and colleagues worldwide.

Press:  Derek Moore was Chairman of AITO from 2007 to 2020, and Deputy Chairman from 2020 until his death.  He was passionate about small companies and their contribution to the economies of so many destinations around the world, and he was much admired by many in the industry.

Press release issued on behalf of AITO by Travel PR (Sue Ockwell, s.ockwell@travelpr.co.uk, 07831 126 356). 

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