In a loss that transcends the boundaries of the mere numbers in the tour and travel industry who know him and worked with him, Werner Escher, 85, and for two lifetimes, it seems, the person who directed the marketing and promotion of South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California–one of America’s top shopping attractions,–died last Friday following a brief illness.
Escher, described by the Orange County Register as the “global ambassador of South Coast Plaza,” joined the attraction in 1968. He went on to promote what was then a small shopping facility into one of the most readily recognized luxury shopping complexes in both the United States and throughout the world.
David Grant, general manager of the complex, told Orange County Register that Escher “was instrumental in bringing the world to South Coast Plaza and bringing South Coast Plaza to a global audience. His efforts over the years helped make South Coast Plaza a renowned international destination.”
(Above) The last time the Inbound Report’s photographer captured Escher: at the South Coast Plaza booth during ipw—last June in New Orleans. With him is Brian Chuan, South Coast Plaza’s director of travel trade development.
Escher was a frequent world traveler, with a particular focus on China and Japan in recent years, said Grant, adding “”Werner is considered to be of celebrity status in China that few others can claim.”
Among his industry peers, Escher was regarded highly by everyone with whom he worked—competitors as well as partners—as social network posts illustrated in the past several days. Here is a sampler:
—“Up to his mid-eighties he was traveling internationally with his wife on sales trips—indefatigable, effusive and a wonderful friend to many of us. A sad day … ”—Jake Steinman, founder and CEO of the NAJ Group, publisher of the Inbound Report.
—“We are all so sad and in shock. Werner is truly a California legend and California sales missions will never be the same. RIP dear friend Werner.”—Marilyn K. Hannes, park president, Sea World & Aquatica, San Diego
—“I was in such awe of his energy and constant smile. Legend, legendary, unforgettable.”—Barbara Steinberg, long-time travel journalist.
—“I was blessed to travel with him around the world. Werner you will be missed but never forgotten, my friend.”—Dean Ruffing, director, Duderanches.com
—“Werner was a visionary, a tireless leader, a distinguished diplomat and a true friend to all. He will be missed by many.”—Rosemary McCormick, president, Shop America Alliance.
For one of the many articles that reported on Escher’s passing, click on: