Tributes have been paid by industry colleagues and friends following news of the death of Institute of Travel and Tourism director Ande Soteri.
Her sudden death came as a shock to her colleagues in the trade. The 52-year-old suffered a heart attack while on holiday in Cyprus. She had been on long-term sick leave from her job as commercial director at ITT.
Barbara Kolosinska, director at C&M Travel Recruitment & C&M Executive Recruitment, said: “I knew Ande for nearly 20 years and she was a really good friend of mine in the travel industry and very supportive when I got on the board of ITT. She was bubbly; always the life and soul of the party. I shared some great times in amazing places with her. She will be greatly missed by the industry.”
Joanna Kolatsis, partner at Hill Dickinson law firm, said: “I am absolutely devastated by the loss of my beautiful and wonderful friend Ande. I first got to know her when she was at Abta and we became firm friends almost immediately; but that was our Ande all over – you would struggle to find a friendlier person in the room.
“She was absolutely amazing – loving, caring, effervescent and couldn’t do enough for people. Ande would greet everyone with a smile and a hug and was unwavering in her enthusiasm and love for her travel industry friends. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say that she will be sorely missed.”
Sarah Clayton-Turner, chairwoman of Association of Women Travel Executives, said: “I’m extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Ande. Always a great supporter of Awte, and friend to many on the board, both past and present including myself. Ande was always armed with a smile and was one of life’s very kind souls. She always made people feel at ease in her company, and she was never short of a great tale to tell. She will be sorely missed by many and our thoughts go out to her family and loved ones.”
Abta also released a statement in tribute to Soteri. It said: “Abta staff were very sad to hear of the untimely death of Ande Soteri who worked at ABTA for eight years as an Executive Officer specialising in Trade Relations. Ande combined an extremely good nature with consummate professionalism, both traits which she continued to display through her later career with the Travel Protection Group and the ITT.”
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