In Memoriam Peter Dahl, First President of TMI
8th November 2019
It is with great sadness that I share the news that Peter Dahl died on 22 October 2019. Peter was the first President of TMI, first ever Fellow of TMI, and the man who, more than anyone else, steered this organisation through its transition from British Association of Tourism Officers (BATO) to its incorporation as TMI in May 1997. All this whilst carrying on the day job first as Deputy Director, then Director of Leisure and Amenities at Scarborough Borough Council. It was a privilege to attend the Thanksgiving Service yesterday in Benderloch and to pass on TMI's condolences in person to his widow, Dorothy, and his family.
Peter, like many of our senior members, came into tourism after an early career elsewhere in local government, in his case in planning. However, tourism was in his genes, as his Norwegian father had owned and run a hotel in Norway and Peter’s first ever job in tourism was as a bellboy there. After university in Aberdeen, Peter went to Newcastle City Council, then moved into tourism at Buxton, working for High Peak Borough Council, before taking up the role at Scarborough, where I met him through the Captain Cook Tourism Association.
Setting up TMI involved all of us on the Council of Management in pretty well monthly meetings to hammer out what TMI would set out to achieve, how we would be constituted and what our long term goals would be. Very much taking professional bodies such as the Royal Town Planning Institute as a model, Peter took the lead in the process, turning our discussions into drafts would become our Articles and ByeLaws. Not content with that, Peter also took us through discussions on our relationships with outside bodies, key national and European tourism organisations and ambitions for establishing better links with the higher education sector, so that when we incorporated in May 1997, we had a coherent five year corporate plan. This in turn laid the foundations for establishing the work programmes/business plans for each of the specialist working groups.
Quite simply, Peter Dahl was Mr. TMI. He accomplished the foundation of TMI whilst at the same time maintaining a lively interest in bringing on younger members of the Institute and the profession. He was always keen to encourage anyone in whom he saw potential and I know I am not alone in having greatly treasured his support as a colleague and mentor in making career choices both within and outside TMI. Indeed, without his encouragement I might not have had the enormous honour of being elected the first woman President of TMI, and his support and friendly advice were invaluable.
Peter was committed to continuing professional development and to encouraging young people. He took a great interest in developing links between TMI and higher education, oversaw the development and launch of the TMI Code of Conduct for Student/Industry Placements in 2000, and worked with the late Steve Watson and the rest of the then TMI Education and Training Panel to develop the original TMI Higher Education Course Recognition Programme.
Peter enjoyed the social side of TMI and our European sister organisation, the European Union of Tourist Offices too, such as the Annual Dinner and the opportunity for a sociable drink after a Council of Management meeting. He particularly enjoyed a ceilidh, and one of my abiding memories is of being twirled around energetically in the Gay Gordons or Strip the Willow! He was a true gentleman, a kind and generous friend and mentor as well as a colleague, and although we lost touch somewhat when I moved to Scotland, his death is a sad loss and I will remember him with great affection, as will many of his friends and former colleagues whose tributes can be read here.
Cathy Guthrie FTMI