European Travel Rep Don Martin Dies


Don Martin in 1960
Don Martin in 1960

Sad news from the European travel community: Donald N. Martin, whose firm represented the 39-nation European Travel Commission in the U.S. for more than 40 years, died April 23 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He was 87 and lived in Manhattan.

Mr. Martin founded his firm in 1959, early in the jet age, and helped to build a trans-Atlantic travel industry that saw U.S. visitors to Europe rise from less than 1 million in 1960 to more than 13 million by 2000.

Donald N. Martin & Company produces—on behalf of ETC—the twice-a-year Visit Europe supplements to The New York Times and other newspapers. Launched in 1964, they were among the first “advertorial” supplements; the most recent issue came out April 11.

Martin also created the annual Discover America Pow-Wow in the late 1960s for what is now the U.S. Travel Association. He launched Travel Europe magazine for travel agents, the long-running Trans-Atlantic Travel Marketing Conference, the multi-city European Travel Supermarts, the Planning Your Trip to Europe guides, and many other advertising and public-relations initiatives, most of them on behalf of Europe. In addition to representing ETC in the U.S., Martin represented individual tourist offices over the years, including those of Belgium and Italy.

Donald Neil Martin was born in Loyalton, CA, on June 23, 1922, to Thomas and Elsie Martin, immigrants from New Zealand. He grew up in Campbell, CA; graduated from the Univ. of California at Berkeley; and served as a Naval Reserve officer on a minesweeper in the Pacific during World War II.

He went on to work in advertising and public relations in New York, and in 1950 was named the public relations officer in the U.S. for the British Travel Association (now VisitBritain). While there, he orchestrated a coast-to-coast tour of the U.S. by a gaggle of double-deck London buses, among other projects. He also worked for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington before launching his own firm.

He is survived by two sons, Neil and Scott; a granddaughter, Alison A. Martin; and his former wife, Beatrice S. Martin, all of Manhattan; and by a brother, Malcolm Martin, of San Jose,  CA. Donald N. Martin & Company continues as a partnership among Neil Martin, Hans Friis-Jacobsen and Susan Vultaggio.

A memorial service will be announced shortly.