Wendy Wu Tours expects ‘fantastic’ year after strong start

The founder of Wendy Wu Tours has predicted a “fantastic” year for the travel industry after her company welcomed a strong start to 2024.

Wendy Wu told a Travel Weekly webcast that last year was one of the tour operator’s strongest ever, but the next 12 months look set to rival it.

Wu said: “We had a very strong peaks in 2023, but for the last few days our growth has been 13% above 2023 so that’s very good.”

A number of destinations were launched last year for travel in 2024 – namely, Costa Rica, Colombia, South Africa and Saudi Arabia – as the tour operator continues to expand its programme beyond its foundations as a China and southeast Asia specialist.

Portugal is among the recently-added destinations performing particularly well, Wu said.

“In everything we do, there will be something that other tour operators don’t do,” said Wu, adding that “immersive experiences” are key.

Other standout offerings include the Mekong river cruises and Turkey, according to Wu.

“Turkey is one of the most successful launches we’ve ever had,” she said, adding: “We do something very special.”

China remains a vital destination for Wendy Wu Tours, with visitors routinely becoming repeat clients for travel agents.

Since the country reopened after Covid, the visitor experience has been further elevated, said Wu, as travellers are “celebrated wherever they go”.

The operator is set to resume its offer of free business-class upgrades for flights to China, having overcome capacity challenges.

Wu said travel agents “need to know” about the free upgrades returning, adding: “Tell your customers.”

Throughout January, a trade incentive is giving agents the chance to win a prize every day. The top prize is a Mekong cruise and Vietnam beach holiday.

“We’re growing and we want our agents to grow with us,” said Wu.

She encouraged the trade to boost their knowledge through training portal ‘Wuniversity’ and highlighted that a proactive approach to sales would reap rewards.

She predicted that 2024 would prove to be “fantastic”, adding: “I’m very confident for our team and our travel agent friends and the industry as a whole.”

The business recently purchased its London Bridge office, which Wu said had cost £300,000 a year in rent.

There will be space to host up to 30 agents at a time for functions and training.

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