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The TravelAge West Excellence in Leadership Award honors individuals who, in the course of their career in travel, have consistently demonstrated leadership and insight, affected change or innovation and made extraordinary contributions to organizations and the industry at large. For 2019, TravelAge West is honored to present this award to Matthew D. Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso.
A travel industry visionary with extensive experience in numerous sectors of the field, Upchurch has been at the helm of Virtuoso (formerly Allied Percival International) since the organization’s founding in 1986. He’s the innovator behind the travel industry’s foremost retail luxury travel brand and its luxury event, Virtuoso Travel Week (formerly Travel Mart).
In 2004, Upchurch was named to the American Society of Travel Advisors Hall of Fame, and in 2010, to the Cruise Lines International Association Hall of Fame. He has also served as the chairman of The Travel Institute.
Frequently sought after for his expertise on luxury travel, Upchurch speaks regularly on the topic at industry conferences around the world and with major media outlets.
He attended Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, and he holds a Certified Travel Counselor accreditation from The Travel Institute.
“Virtuoso is a leader in innovation and has constantly raised the bar for the entire industry,” said Kenneth Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief of TravelAge West. “Matthew’s passion for travel and travel advisors has not only helped the organization grow and succeed; it has also made bucket-list experiences more attainable for all travelers.”
Upchurch joins previous Excellence in Leadership award winners who are also champions of the travel agent community. The 2018 TravelAge West Excellence in Leadership Award honored Rudi Schreiner, president and co-owner of AmaWaterways, and Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-owner of AmaWaterways.