Innovative tourism star Tollman loses battle with cancer at 91

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  1. Celebrated as an architect of the modern travel industry, Tollman has brought the world to tens of millions of people through his portfolio of travel brands.
  2. He may be best remembered as the beloved patriarch and steward of the century-old family business.
  3. Today, TTC has more than 10,000 employees, providing unparalleled hospitality to customers in 70 countries around the world.

The son of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants who escaped life-threatening anti-Semitism in Tsarist Russia, Stanley Tollman was born in the small South African fishing village of Paternoster, in the Western Cape, where his parents operated a modest hotel with outhouse and where a young Tollman roamed barefoot while soaking up the warmth and work ethic of a family dedicated to hospitality.

His father Solomon Tollman called the family’s passionate customer service philosophy “driven by service” and this approach, coupled with a relentless pursuit of excellence, would become the hallmark of the family’s lifelong work. Stanley Tollman, a lesson and an enduring philosophy that he has maintained throughout his decades of hospitality. career and instilled in generations of Tollmans who continue to follow in his footsteps.

A son of Africa sets his sights on the world

In 1954, Stanley Tollman married Beatrice Lurie, beginning a lasting love affair and partnership. Sharing a passion for exceptional hospitality, the young couple used the money from their marriage to purchase their first property, the Nugget Hotel in Johannesburg.

Tollman worked tirelessly, driven by his relentless pursuit of perfection and hunger to make an impact in South Africa and, if possible, the world. The opportunity presented itself in 1955 with Tollman’s second investment, The Hyde Park Hotel, the revolutionary boutique hotel in South Africa that established the Tollman name as a mark of excellence and catapulted the young hotelier to glory.

In Hyde Park, Stanley and Bea worked closely together, Stanley being in charge of the front desk while Bea operated behind the scenes, becoming the only female chef in South Africa at the time. Their concept for the hotel’s signature dining room, the Colony Restaurant redefined grandeur and immediately became an entertaining sensation. Tollman has traveled the world to bring famous international cabaret performers to perform here, elevating South Africa’s exposure to international dance and music artists. It was the first to welcome renowned artists and celebrities such as Marlene Dietrich and Maurice Chevalier and film crews – including Stanley Baker’s landmark film “Zulu” starring Michael Caine – to South Africa in the 1950s and 60.

Tollman’s reputation for excellence grew with the introduction of Tollman Towers, South Africa’s first five-star all-suite hotel, followed by the first company in the travel industry with the purchase of Trafalgar Tours in 1969. Tollman’s watchful eye on operations and his innovative approach to immersive travel transforms the fledgling small travel company into one of the most award-winning global travel brands with over 80 awards to date. Trafalgar not only expanded Tollman’s holdings beyond hotels, but into global travel markets, paving the way for the creation of The Travel Corporation as it is today.

Reflecting on Tollman as a respected global and contemporary elder, Sir Geoffrey Kent, Founder, Co-Chairman and CEO of luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent said:

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