-- One of the highest volume operators of tours to Asia, Ritz Tours
built its business on a slogan of The best quality tours for the
We always felt
like the travel market was like a pyramid, said Ritz Director Evan
Chan. The top is luxury travel, and we always felt that was a small
segment -- at most a thousand or two -- and we didnt market to it.
We wanted 20,000.
But lately, Ritz
has been rethinking its premise, resulting in a new style of tour,
the Premiere Series, targeting that luxury market. And now Chan is
finding out its not such a small segment after all.
We were seeing
demand, he said. I dont know if there was a shift or not. Now were
finding out from advance bookings that its pretty large.
In the past, Ritz
offered its product in one style, Deluxe. The formula is to use
five-star hotels but keep overall tour prices
series uses the best hotels in every city, Chan said, such as the
InterContinental Grand Stanford in Hong Kong, the St. Regis in
Shanghai, the ShangriLa in Beijing, the Sheraton in Guilin and the
Sofitel in Xian. At least one dinner and entertainment is included
at each hotel.
in the Deluxe series are standard inclusions in the Premiere, such
as a Qin Dynasty Dinner Show and a rickshaw ride through the
historical district of Hutong in Beijing.
have a maximum group size of 24, in contrast to 30 to 35 for the
series will debut with four programs. Three are upgraded Deluxe
programs: upstream and downstream Yangtze River programs and a
13-night China Panorama tour.
The fourth is a
new itinerary, a 16-night Tokyo & China Highlights tour
starting from $3,399 per person, double.
reservations line is (800) 900-2446. Its Web address is www.ritztours.com.
A discount of up
to $200 off per person is available on bookings made by Dec. 31,
2005, at least 45 days in advance of the departure date.
reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].