This week, the world’s food and beverage tourism industry lost one of its long-time pioneers and a true Italophile, Harold D Partain.
Harold was a seasoned travel industry veteran. He started his career in 1973 at the Travel Service of America travel agency. He left there in 1984 for a position at Rudi Steele Travel, which was his workplace until 1991 when he left to found Exclusive Travel Designs, a boutique travel agency. In 1997, he moved to Voyagers The Travel Store, before landing in 2001 as Executive Director of McCabe Travel Group, based in the Dallas, Texas area. Since 2006, he also managed Epicopia Culinary Journeys, concurrent with his McCabe Travel position. Epicopia was a specialist culinary tour operator taking food lovers to experience the best flavors of Italy, which was always Harold’s life-long passion. It was like a dream career, finally, come true.
For the World Food Travel Association, Harold helped to formulate our first Certified Culinary Travel Professional (CCTP) program, which launched in 2008. Harold also regularly attended and spoke at the Association’s annual summits in Canada and the United States, and was instrumental in driving many of the partnerships the Association enjoyed in its early days. Harold served on the Board of Directors of the World Food Travel Association from 2005-2015 and acted as its Board Chair from 2011-2015.
In 2020, Harold was presented with the World Food Travel Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his service to the world’s food and beverage tourism industry.
WFTA Executive Director lamented on his passing, “Harold, thank you for your leadership, your mentorship, and your friendship. It’s like a little piece of Italy has been lost forever. Harold, we raise a glass of Arneis to you and bid you safe onward journey.”
Rest in peace, dear friend.