MOST TOUR OPERATORS concentrate on China's Big Four: Beijing, Shanghai, Xian and the Yangtze River. Panda Travel, USA (www.farechina.com), a tour operator based in Alhambra, CA, tends to see the whole breadth of possibilities within China, and is especially adept in creating itineraries that explore less-visited Western China.
"The potential for tourism to Western China is huge," says Hunter Wang, CEO of Panda Travel, USA. "Two-thirds of the World Heritage Sites of China are located in the country's 12 western provinces, and the natural scenery has great charm." Wang notes that the hotels in Western China are "at the highest level."
Panda Travel, USA has a 10-year history as a travel wholesaler specializing in China, although Wang has 25 years in the tourism business, giving him deep ties with regional tourist boards throughout China. "Connections equal money and productivity," he says. "We have the knowledge and vision to assure success."
Increasing U.S. Market
Wang's goal is to increase Panda Travel, USA's presence in the U.S. market, which currently accounts for 50 percent of the company's business. "We'd like to grow our percentage of U.S. travelers to 90 percent," he says.
Upcoming specialized tours from Panda Travel, USA include a Medical Tourism Tour with a tentative August/September tour date, and a Honeymoon Group Tour targeting U.S. couples, tentatively scheduled for November. In addition to its scheduled departures and programs, Panda Travel, USA can create fully customized itineraries.
"We'll focus on China instead of dual-destination tours," says Wang. "China is a big enough market." Even so, on request, the company can add destinations such as Vietnam, Mongolia and Korea to a scheduled itinerary.
Panda Travel, USA uses Asiana Airlines as its preferred carrier and partners with river-cruise operator CCOTC on the Yangtze River components of its tour programs.
Panda Travel, USA, Inc. will be participating in a number of road shows and seminars to introduce China's tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants and culture to travel agents. These will be scheduled either just before or after Luxury Travel Expo 2008, to be held in Las Vegas December 2-4, at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. During this same period, they'll also add road shows in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
When predicting Panda Travel, USA's success in the U.S, Wang is fond of quoting a Chinese saying: "The old tide will be replaced by the new tide."
Panda Travel, USA pays 10 percent commission to travel agents. The travel agent contact for the company is Joseph Lee. He can be contacted at [email protected] or 626-281-2938.