(Posted 21st November 2022)
e-Tourism Guru Damian Cook, aged just 54, passed away last night in Kenya as a result of what has been described to ATCNews as a massive heart attack.
Damian and I interacted often, mostly on the professional stage, and we both shared the passion for all things tourism. We often met in Kenya – of course, where else – but also across the African continent, at tourism trade shows – often both of us engaged as speakers and session moderators – conferences and related events.
I came into contact with Damian first when he consulted for the Kenya Tourism Board many moons ago before creating e-Tourism Frontiers, a consulting company which saw him spread the tourism gospel far and wide, in East Africa, across the African continent and even way beyond.
ATTA, the African Travel and Tourism Association, of which both of us are members, also paid tribute to Damian and befittingly said:
‘Damian’s passion for Africa began at a young age and he learnt Swahili from a Tanzanian agricultural student when he was at university studying English and History in Brisbane in the late 80’s.
His first trip to Africa was in August 1990 and he stayed for three months travelling from Zimbabwe to Kenya – very much the mirror end of what would be his last Africa trip – Zimbabwe and back to his home in Kenya, where for a night he reconnected with the much loved dogs and his home in Watamu filled with art and objects collected from his travels. Damian was a global traveller and he had friends around the world, but his heart was in Africa and he will be happy that he will be laid to rest in Africa.
He was passionate about the travel community and he was a champion for many different issues and his legacy will be working to promote African tourism particularly online with recent projects with the Zimbabwe tourism community and the Rwanda Gorilla project. His favourite line #keepmoving hopefully will encourage more travel across this wild and beautiful continent – a place where he was proud to call home.‘
ATCNews expresses sincere condolences and deep sympathy for Damian’s wife Elizabeth, his family and his many friends in Africa and around the world.
His passing is a heavy loss for all of us in the tourism industry and he will be sorely missed.