Head of travel PR agency McCluskey International dies after heart attack

Judy McCluskey, the founder and principal of travel and tourism PR firm McCluskey International, has died following a heart attack. Tributes have been paid to a "pioneer" of the industry.

A statement on the website of the firm says: "On Tuesday 15 November 2016, Judy McCluskey, Agency Principal of travel and tourism PR and Marketing consultancy McCluskey International, passed away.

"Judy had suffered a heart attack a week earlier and sadly didn't recover."

The statement also gives details of her funeral, a subsequent memorial service and contact details for sending condolence cards or messages.

"In line with Judy’s wishes, the McCluskey International team will honour Judy’s legacy by continuing to deliver the great client work the agency has become known for," the statement goes on to say.

The West London agency was set up by McCluskey in 1987, and has 10 full-time employees. It recently picked up work with the tourist boards for India and the Chinese city of Hangzhou, and also represents the Maldives Tourist Board.

Tributes

Yasmin Arrigo, editor-in-chief of PRWeek sister title Conference & Incentive Travel magazine (C&IT), said: "Judy was an inspirational figure in the travel and tourism industry who mentored many of the current leaders in travel representation. Her extensive knowledge and vibrant nature will be missed."

Respected travel writer Simon Calder, who works for the i paper, Independent.co.uk and Evening Standard, told PRWeek: "Judy was a consummate professional and a pleasure to work with. She worked tirelessly for a range of top-notch travel clients, yet she always engaged individually with journalists. She will be much missed."

Jonathan Sloan, the MD of travel agency Hills Balfour, whose first job in PR was at McCluskey, described his former boss as "absolutely a pioneer for the travel PR industry". He went on to say: "She ran a great organisation, she had a great sense of humour and a great work ethic. It's a real loss for the travel industry."

The UK editor of National Geographic Traveller added a tribute on Twitter.

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