China is booming for Globus. With business
to the destination up 40% this year over 2006, the tour operator is
debuting four new escorted tours to China for 2008.
"We attribute [the
rise] to increased demand as well as our expansive trade push,"
said Jennifer Halboth, manager of channel marketing for Globus and
affiliated brands Brennan Vacations, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon
Waterways. "China is extremely important right now, and we're
definitely looking at it becoming a primary destination for us over
the next five years."
Building on the
popularity of existing product, such as its Classic China tours,
and newer vacations introduced last year, including the Cultural
China & Tibet with Yangtze River Cruise package, the company is
rolling out four new tours to the country: two under the Globus
brand and two as part of its Monograms lineup.
Globus' 2008 China
and Asia brochure, which made its debut Aug. 15, will include a
five-night Chinese New Year in Hong Kong package, priced from
$1,029 land only, and a 14-night Treasures of Japan & China,
priced from $4,409 for land and flights during the tour.
Transpacific air is additional.
Monograms-branded product to China will include the eight-night
Highlights of China to Shanghai, Guilin, Xian and Beijing, priced
from $1,719 for land and internal air, and the similar, 11-night
Highlight of China & Hong Kong, priced from $2,459 for land,
including extra nights in Hong Kong and internal air.
combine traditional sightseeing with more intimate, authentic
interactions with locals, according to Halboth.
"We have unique,
authentic experiences mixed in with standard sightseeing, such as
visits to the Great Wall," she said. "On some tours, for example,
we go into local kindergartens, while others go into local homes
for a visit or customers attend noodle-making
"We feel that,
especially with non-Europe destinations, interaction with locals is
very important," she added.
Escorted tours the right offering
The new product
further fuels a China push that Globus, traditionally a purveyor of
European vacations, began last year with the rollout of its
microsite, at www.escapetochina.com, and travel agent
decided we really want to focus on growing our non-Europe
business," said Halboth. "As we start getting younger people or
travelers who have already done a lot of Europe with us coming into
the fold, exotic, non-European destinations hold a lot of
"China has the
potential to rank in our top 10 destinations in time," she added.
"Yangtze River cruises are really hot."
China, along with
other Asian destinations, is particularly ripe for growth in
escorted touring from the U.S., thanks to not only its exotic
appeal but the unfamiliarity factor, which can breed insecurity
among otherwise confident regular travelers.
"China, almost more
than any other 'exotic' destination, really lends itself well to
escorted," said Halboth. "Plenty of travelers out there who'd never
think of travel with Globus to Europe are really going to think
twice about [independent] travel to a country like
"That's due to so
many different concerns, such as the size of the country and the
unfamiliar food," she added. "There's so much to navigate. While
people might go back independently once they get comfortable, for
their first or second time they'll most likely consider an escorted
Noting the recent
interest in China travel -- most U.S. travelers visit in spring and
fall -- Globus opened an operational office in Beijing in 2006. "We
felt it was really important to have someone on the ground in the
area, because Chinese businesses are very relationship-oriented,"
can inspect excursions first-hand to make sure we're offering
authentic [product], and to ensure that our relationships with
hotels are what they should be," she added. "Having that insider
knowledge for our product has helped."
Globus is also
working hard to educate travel agents about both China and Globus'
offerings to the destination.
"Part of the
strategy is to make sure agents that know that we are a specialist
in travel to exotic destinations such as China," said Halboth,
noting Globus companies often carry more passengers in China and
Asia than do many niche operators, thanks "to our distribution and
The travel trade
campaign began in 2006 with a three-tiered mailing promotion to
agencies -- for example, sending a batch of fortune cookies -- and
a series of individual familiarization trips for top-producing
agents as well as the launch of the www .escapetochina.com Web
China, we want travel agents to feel comfortable talking about the
destination," said Halboth, noting Globus relies on agent partners
to help clients with matters such as visas. "The Web site addresses
the myths, the realities and frequently asked questions about
travel to China."
Looking to spur
further bookings, through Oct. 31 Globus is offering a $400
discount per couple on air-inclusive pricing for any Asia vacation
departing in 2008.
"What we put forth
to travel agents and their customers is that this is a
once-in-a-lifetime trip that avid travelers really need to go
[on]," said Halboth. "As we're up overall to China this year, we're
very pleased and plan to do other non-Europe
information, call (800) 221-0090 or visit www.globusjourneys.com or www.escapetochina.com.
contact Destinations editor Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].