18 July 2003
Education of frontline travel agents about China's
current SARS-free status is the biggest challenge facing
Australia's Helen Wong Tours, the market leader for
providing visitors to China from the Pacific region.
Proprietor Helen Wong said she is "using every means
possible - door knocking, newsletters, electronic
distribution and the media" to get across the message that
China is back to normal.
Wong's business to China disappeared with SARS but she
says that signs are emerging that confidence in the
destination is slowly returning.
"The corporate market for China is starting to move,
while for the leisure market we have put out a number of
specials to attract both those who have been to China
before, as well as first-timers.
"At this point, price will drive interest," she
Helen Wong Tours has put together a six-day package with
Air China that offers six nights in Beijing, including
first-class accommodation and various add-ons for less than
A 15-day tour of major cities is priced at an
all-inclusive A$2999. "We haven't seen such prices for a
decade," said Wong.
"And for those who have been to China before and want to
see something different, we are packaging a voyage, sailing
through five locks, on the Yangste River to see the effects
of the new dam."
Wong said she was encouraged that those who booked in
April and May to travel to China in September and October
had not cancelled.
"We're re-launching, we're bouncing back, the way ahead
after SARS now looks a lot clearer," she added.