To support its custom-built FIT travel offerings with private local guides in Asia, which were launched one year ago, Avanti Destinations is hosting ongoing training and familiarization trips for the company’s call center reservation agents.
The company launched its initial Asia offering of China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in December 2015 and recently added Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Taiwan. Forward bookings for 2017 are robust, the company said.
Mark Grundy, Avanti’s managing director of Asia, said that every Avanti travel consultant who answers travel agent calls about Asia has either lived in Asia or has been there within the last 12 months. The company’s other travel consultants – those who usually answer agent calls on Europe and Latin America – are also cross-trained on Asia.
Avanti’s Asia product also makes use of private local guides, the 24/7 support of local DMC representatives, and that reflect local character.
Agents can select from suggested itineraries, accommodations, transfers and experiences/activities in multiple locations to create a unique vacation for each client. Among the experiences offered in Asia:
- China: Private Hu County Half-Day Tour (1 hour drive from X’ian) – Meet a painter who became a farmer during the Cultural Revolution, watch him paint and try your hand at painting or learning Chinese tissue paper-cutting. Watch a traditional dragon dance by villagers. From $95** per person.
- Japan: Private Kyoto Cycling Golden Route – Three and a half hour cycling journey with guide along the Kinukake No Michi, connecting the Golden Pavilion and Saga-Arashiyama. See the Ryoanji Temple with its famous rock garden and lovely Arashiyama, an officially designated Place of Scenic Beauty filled with temples and a bamboo forest. From $149 per person.
- Indonesia: Private Day in the Life of a Balinese Farmer – Five-hour tour in Tabanan, includes time working in the rice fields, learning how to make local specialties, lunch. From $155 per person.
- Malaysia: Private Kinabalu Park & Poring Hotel Springs Tour – Drive along mountain roads, visit a market, walk in Botanical Garden with 4,500 species of plants, soak in hot springs, try canopy walk 135 ft above the jungle. 10 hours, from $145 per person.
- Myanmar: Private Tour from Inle Lake to Cave with Picnic Lunch – See stilt-house villages, explore a maze of caves and caverns with 8,000-plus gilded images of Buddha, learn how to make shan paper in a family workshop, stroll through plantations. 8 hours, from $199 per person.
- Philippines: Private Whale Shark Encounter – Four-hour tour from Cebu to Oslob. Includes lunch and a ride on a habal-habal motorcycle taxi, to marvel at Tumalob Falls, surrounded by cliffs and jungle. From $363 per person.
- Singapore: Private Night Safari Half-Day Tour – The world’s first open concept nocturnal zoo, with animals from eight different ecosystems with private guide. See it by tram and on foot. From $285.
- South Korea: Private Korean Cultural Experience; Hanbok Wearing, Kimchi Making, Tea Ceremony – Half-day tour with hands-on learning about Korean traditions of dress, kimchi preparation, and tea ceremony. From $185 per person.
Avanti’s 84-page, four-color brochure, Essence of Asia 2017-2018, describing all the options, is available in print upon request and is downloadable at www.avantidestinations.com.