Nine out of 10 leisure travelers are interested in taking an international trip during the next years, according to MMGY Global’s 2013 Portrait of American Travelers. Of those, more than one in five have Asia in their sights. For your Asia-bound clients who are interested in China, here is a sampling of what the top tour and cruise operators have in store.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has released its 2014 brochure for Asia cruises. New to the catalog are the 12-day Treasures of China & the Yangtze cruise/tours. The itineraries, which touch on China, Vietnam and Cambodia, consist of both land and cruise options along the Yangtze and Mekong rivers. Highlights include a four-night Yangtze cruise on Century Paragon, with seven nights in hotels. Guests will have the opportunity to see a kung fu show in Beijing, a Tang Dynasty show in Xi’an and the Shanghai Acrobats.
Royal Garden inside the Forbidden City, Beijing
Century Cruises has announced its 2014 deployment plan as well. Itineraries for the new Platinum series ships, Century Paragon and Century Legend, will remain the same in 2014 as in 2013, with the ships both offering four-day/three-night itineraries downstream and five-day/four-night upstream between Chongqing and Yichang beginning March 11 through the end of November. Both vessels will offer guests a Yangtze River cruise that includes an opportunity to participate in a range of shore excursions and experiences, such as an educational tour of the Three Gorges Dam site.
The itineraries for the Century Sky and Century Sun are also very similar to their 2013 routes. Both ships will sail alternately four days/three nights downstream and five days/four nights upstream between Chong-qing and Yichang. Also new for the 2014 season, the Century Diamond will introduce a longer (six days/five nights) itinerary series between Chongqing and the city of Wuhan, gateway to Shanghai. This new itinerary includes all the best elements of the shorter cruise plus a visit to the ancient, walled city of Jinzhou and the Jinzhou Museum.
General Tours’ wealth of World Traveler programs in China includes a pair of soft adventure itineraries. Highlights of the eight-day Hangzhou & Up Yellow Mountain itinerary include a journey by high-speed rail through some of China’s most beautiful scenery to the shores of picturesque West Lake; visiting the Tea Museum in Hangzhou for insight into this ancient and enduring Chinese tradition; and an ascent to the top of Mt. Huangshan.
Clients opting for the Hill Tribes of China & Vietnam tour will explore ancient terraced mountains, lush valleys and remote tribal villages. Along the way they will witness Sapa’s lush mountain scenery and the landscapes of Yuanyang, where the Hani people handcarved terraced rice paddies more than a thousand years ago; have authentic encounters with villagers and farmers; experience cultural diversity and enduring traditions of the region’s many ethnic hill tribes; and enjoy a romantic train ride on an overnight journey to Hanoi.
Though there is so much more to see in China than the Great Wall, the edifice remains a bucket-list item for travelers.
Wendy Wu Tours’ offerings include the 24-day Silk Road Explorer. On this journey of discovery, your clients will follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo to explore the centuries-old Silk Road, a route heavily influenced by Muslim and Buddhist cultures. Along the way they’ll behold ancient carvings, holy sites and the huge, sprawling Sunday Bazaar in Kashgar, the westernmost town in China.
Travel Impressions’ 10-day, land-only China Experience tour in conjunction with Wendy Wu Tours visits three famous cities: Shanghai, Xi’an and Beijing. Highlights include the Terracotta Warriors, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. Travelers will also visit the canal town of Wuzhen where they will be able to see the system of canals, old wooden waterside houses and more.
In 2014, Trafalgar is offering a 15-day tour of China, Tibet and the Yangtze. Guests will have the chance to take a peek into Chinese life during a visit with a Hutong family in Beijing for a local lunch. Other opportunities include a visit to a Lhasa family’s home; Tiananmen Square, pandas at the Beijing Zoo, the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, a stroll along the Bund in Shanghai, a visit to the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa and more.
Are your clients looking to travel off the beaten path? Pacific Delight Tours’ 15-day Tibet & Yangtze River Escapade Experience might be for them. The trip begins in Shanghai where travelers will visit the old town, Yu Garden and the Bund. Guests then fly to Yichang to board a Victoria Cruises ship for a cruise down the Yangtze, stopping at the village of San Dou Ping, a cruise through the Three Gorges and more. In Chongqing, guests will visit the zoo to see the pandas. Other highlights include Lhasa, Tibet; Xi’an; and Beijing.
Earlier this year, Tauck added an 11-day exploration of China to its portfolio of Asian journeys. Many of the sites in the new China itinerary are must-see highlights, from the Great Wall and the Forbidden City to Tiananmen Square and the Terracotta Warriors. The tour also takes guests a little deeper into the culture. For example, travelers will visit the Panda Breeding Center in Chingdu, the Shanghai French Concession, the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center and the Shanghai Museum.
First-time visitors might wish to consider the relatively short China Primary tour from Pacific Holidays, which covers the country’s “must see” attractions in seven days. It visits the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing, then travels to the ancient Chinese capital, Xi’an and ends with a stay in Shanghai. The 10-day Marvels of China adds a cruise of the Li River in Guilin; and a full day in Hong Kong. Longer (up to 18 days) all-China programs are also available in combination with neighboring Asian countries.
Clients can indulge their independent spirit with Ritz Tours’ 2014 City Packages, which let you customize their itinerary. Three-night Beijing stays and two-night plans in Xi’an, Guilin and Shanghai can be mixed-and-matched to suit their wants and needs. A wealth of comprehensive, land-only 10- to 16-day vacations are available in Ritz Tours’ China Deluxe Series, and, for your more affluent clients, the Premiere Series presents the 12-day Majestic China Panorama and 15-day Majestic China & Yangtze River programs, with upgraded accommodations (executive or club floor rooms) at luxury hotels, private-room dining at top local restaurants, exclusive access for individual photos with the Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Xi’an, and a farewell banquet party in Shanghai. The Yangtze portion is operated by Victoria Cruises.
Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an