Cel­e­brat­ing a life in travel

Signature Travel & Lifestyle - - Concierge -

In memo­riam Jesse Upchurch, Vir­tu­oso co-founder and for­mer chair­man

The travel in­dus­try mourns a vi­sion­ary with the pass­ing of Jesse Upchurch on 26 Fe­bru­ary. Mr Upchurch co-founded the Vir­tu­oso net­work of lux­ury travel ad­vi­sors in 1986 with his son, cur­rent chair­man and CEO, Matthew D Upchurch, but his in­flu­ence was also felt across the broader travel in­dus­try. He re­alised that there was a mar­ket for lux­ury ad­ven­ture travel more than 50 years ago after in­vest­ing in a Caribbean yacht-char­ter­ing com­pany, then build­ing the first time­share re­sort in Aca­pulco, Mex­ico. Op­er­a­tions ex­panded into more ex­otic lo­cales with the 1962 pur­chase of Per­ci­val Tours. Africa, In­dia and Asia were no longer for in­trepid ad­ven­tur­ers; with Upchurch’s new air-con­di­tioned mo­tor coaches, lux­ury-seek­ers could tour th­ese thrilling des­ti­na­tions in com­fort. Upchurch also sup­ported con­ser­va­tion ef­forts, do­nat­ing land in Kenya to the African Fund for En­dan­gered Wildlife that to­day makes up the grounds sur­round­ing Gi­raffe Manor.

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