Tributes have been paid by the industry following the death of travel agent Dave Archer.
Archer, who passed away on New Year’s Day, enjoyed a 45-year career in travel.
After starting out on the counter of Thomas Cook in Birmingham, he went on to work for Gulf Air for nearly 20 years, becoming an expert in the Middle East and treasurer of the Midland Airline Committee.
The last decade of his working life saw him return to the agency counter at RB Collection in Lichfield, where he stayed until his retirement in 2013 at the age of 64.
Archer has been remembered for his sense of humour, passion for travel and as a true gentleman.
Nathan Collins, director of RB Collection, said: “Dave always knew how to lighten the mood in the office and had a fun back catalogue of jokes to keep us all entertained. He was a very passionate traveller and loved India in particular, as well as the Middle East. He really encouraged us to visit new and upcoming places and made a big impact on us all.”
Philippa Baines, Intrepid’s business development manager for the Midlands, called him the ‘oracle of Oman’ and a ‘fun colleague with many a joke to share’. She added: “He’ll be missed by so many –such a lovely gentleman.”
Andrew Harrison, senior business development manager of Lufthansa, said: “I remember him fondly for his gentle humour, conversation and kindness when I used to see him frequently in my early career when he was the regional sales manager for Gulf Air. He always brought a smile into the office.”
Peter Hancox, formerly of British Airways and a friend of Archer, said: “He was always a gentleman, a gentle man…quietly spoken and considerate and thoughtful of others but always maintaining a sense of humour.”
In a Reader’s Lives interview in Travel Weekly in 2013 when he was approaching retirement, Archer spoke about the changes in travel over the years, including the fact that all counter staff in the early 1970s were men.
He said: “There were a dozen or so people on the counter, but none were women. I think the first woman to work as an agent for Thomas Cook actually started in Birmingham in the 1970s.”
In the article, he added: “The principles of being a travel agent are still the same, but customers are far more aware of destinations, so as an agent you do need to know your stuff. But the biggest change has got to be the technology and social media.”