Joel M. Abels of Travel Trade Magazine Passes Away

Joel M. Abels, editor and publisher of Travel Trade magazine, passed away on Friday, January 26 at the age of 80. According to officials at Travel Trade magazine, Abels died at SoundShoreMedicalCenter, New Rochelle, NY, after a prolonged illness. He and his wife, Lenore, edited and published Travel Trade over the span of five decades. Travel Agent spoke with industry leaders, who expressed their sadness over the passing of Abels, a man they considered to be a true industry leader. "Joel was a staunch supporter of the travel agency community," said Donna Flora, vice president of travel industry relations for American Express. "He fought to keep the concerns and goals of the small business owner in front of the leaders of the travel industry in order to remind them that travel agents were the best distribution channel for them. He was a true visionary and when you were his friend, you were his friend for life. I will truly miss Joel," she said. Vicki Freed, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Carnival Cruise Lines, echoed Flora's sentiments. "Joel challenged anybody who he believed wasn't looking out for travel agents, even challenging organizations like ASTA," said Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Carnival Cruise Lines. "If he saw someone not fighting for the little guy, he was out there waving a flag. He was truly a good friend and will be missed by everyone-not just by travel agents, but by suppliers too. He was really a hero of the travel industry." Abels, known for his active lobbying and legislative action in Washington, DC on behalf of the industry, also created the CRUISE-A-THON and Leisure Travel/Home Based/Winter CRUISE-A-THON trade shows. He also conducted the annual Travel Trade Travel Industry Summit Conference for industry leaders and was inducted into ASTA's Travel Hall of Fame in 2001 and into CLIA's first Industry Hall of Fame.

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