Celebrating a life in travel
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.