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Former ASATA President succumbs to COVID

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Industry stalwarts Barney and Esther Singer passed away a few weeks ago following a battle with COVID-19.

Barney passed away on the 31st of December 2020, two days after his wife Esther’s birthday and three days after their 65th anniversary. Esther passed away five days later on the 5th of January 2021.

Barney was a Chartered Accountant by profession, and while in practice, he bought Embassy Travel in Cape Town. He stepped into this new role with focussed passion and fell in love with the travel industry. His enthusiasm, professionalism and honourable character stood him in good stead, and soon he was approached by industry colleagues to serve on various national and international travel bodies.

In the late 1970’s Barney, together with a few other travel agency owners, formed SARTAC (Southern African Retail Travel Agents Consortium) which later changed its name to Sure Travel.   Barney played a pivotal role in the growth of this consortium and held various leadership positions, including a seat on the board of Sure Travel and serving as its Chairperson. 

Barney was also an active ASATA member and served as National Treasurer and also as National President. Through his involvement with ASATA, his travel colleagues and peers in Sub Saharan Africa, elected Barney to be their representative for UFTAA (Universal Federation of Travel Agents Associations). He was soon appointed to the board and where he served as Vice President Finance. As a result of their standing in UFTAA, an international body, Barney and Esther were able to travel to destinations that were prohibited for South Africans to visit during the Apartheid era, like Cuba and Syria. 

In 2004 he was one of the founding members of XL Travel and he was appointed Honorary Life President. 

Barney’s wife Esther played a major role in Embassy Travel where she worked as a travel consultant. She was adored by clients and industry colleagues alike. She headed up the Kibbutz Adventure Project that facilitated working holidays and volunteer programs on Kibbutzim in Israel. 

Barney and Esther lead rich lives filled with contentment, love, family, kindness, professional achievements, travel, art, adventure and community.

Barney and Esther’s personal and professional achievements are unrivalled and they have left an indelible mark on the South African tourism industry. They are survived by their children, Leon, Jill and Brian, daughter-in-law Lee-Anne, as well as their five grandchildren.

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