Helen Wong: “We're bouncing back“

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 said.

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$1000.

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.

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