February 26, 2009 08:00 ET

Joe King, Beloved Founder and Chairman of and, Passed

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - February 26, 2009) - Joe King, our beloved founder and Chairman of &, and truly a travel and tourism visionary, passed of complications from inoperable lung cancer.

Joe was a native New Yorker, born in the city in 1941; he turned 68 on January 27. He attended Lawrenceville and Canterbury schools and then Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, Washington, D.C. After college he began his lifelong career in travel and tourism. At first he represented hotel corporations based in Washington, D.C. and then Radisson Hotels and Holiday Inns, a job that took him all over the world. He was active in New York City with the major travel entrepreneurs and airlines that invented in the late 60s "modern wholesale travel." Joe dealt on a daily basis with the top tour operators of the era such as Gill Horache of Liberty, who established the model for today's mega agencies by popularizing the inclusion of price packaged vacations, Steve Lohr, who created European Ski Packaging, and Stan Fisher, the inventor of package vacations from abroad.

At one time Joe established the tour and travel department of the famous Tavern on the Green and the Lincoln Center in New York. He founded King International in 1980 and becoming an early pioneer of promoting the travel business through the Internet. In the mid-1970s Joe moved to San Francisco, which he adopted as his primary home for the rest of his life. It was there that Joe and his ex-wife and best friend of 40 years, Maria Polk, founded and, one of the leading worldwide directories of tours and vacations. Joe remained active in many travel and tourism organizations and will be missed by us beyond words.

Contact Information