From left to right: James Murphy, AmaWaterways; Klaus Billep; Nick Panza, Air Tahiti Nui; Robert Kern, PNR/ABC American Express Travel // © 2012
At a recent dinner in Santa Monica, Calif., fellow industry leaders and co-workers honored the man nicknamed “Mr. Travel” — Klaus Billep — for his 40 years of contributions to the travel industry.
“With all the accolades earned by Klaus, we revere him mostly as a genuine gentleman for all reasons — and a true pro for all seasons,” said Jim Ferguson, former North America director of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
Since Billep came to the U.S. from Germany in 1950, he has proven himself to have the spirit of an entrepreneur. One of the many companies and associations that Billep has influenced is PATA. After establishing a chapter in Southern California, he has been its executive director since 1978. In addition, Billep established Universal Travel System (UTS), a tour operator that specializes in itineraries to some of the most remote destinations.