Travel Agents & Asian Tours
Benefits of Specializing in Asian Travel
Asian travel is an exotic and thrilling experience. Whether you choose to focus on China, Southeast Asia, Japan, or elsewhere in Asia, you're sure to have a unique and diverse number of offerings for your clients. Travel to Asia is popular. Most of the region is politically stable, and the economy is strong or growing. Some of the most popular countries in the region for travel are China, Japan, Thailand and India. Because of the wide diversity throughout Asia, and the large geographic size of the region, it may be best to focus your efforts on one or two countries. China is a large country with lots of options, as is India. Southeast Asia as a region is a good area to focus on as it is popular for its beaches, adventure sports, and culturally rich cities. Within Southeast Asia, the most popular country is Thailand. By far, the largest number of travelers and tour groups operate in Thailand.
There's a wide range of tour operators working in Asia. As a travel agent, it is your job to fully understand each company you work with. Some companies are locally based while others are large worldwide companies like Globus. If your client is looking for reliability and an international reputation, it may be best for you to recommend a larger company. However, if they're looking for a more local and adventurous experience, then a smaller, locally based business may be best for them. Before you recommend a company to a client, read reviews to make sure the reputation of the company is legitimate. Some tour companies do cut corners to save money, and this is reflected in the quality of the tour. Also, find out how many factories the tour visits. A trip to a factory is a popular ploy for tour operators who take kickbacks from these shops. Some travelers get frustrated with the number factories visited during these trips as they often feel like little more than sales pitches.
Types of Asian Tours
The types of tours through Asia are as diverse as the region itself. Some tours are targeted at specific age groups. Because the region offers vibrant cities, adventure sports, and beautiful beaches at an affordable cost, it is popular with young travelers. Many of the tour operators market specifically to this demographic. Its cultural diversity and unique travel experiences make Asia a popular region with almost all groups as well though. There are tour operators who focus specifically on singles, couples, or seniors. These tours provide activities that are designed specifically for those demographics. Before booking a tour for your client, make sure you fully understand the demographic or type of traveler it is intended for.
There are also special interest tours available throughout the area. Some offer more guidance, while others are designed with more flexibility for the independent minded. Cooking in the region is fascinating, and some tours are specifically designed to offer a culinary experience to visitors. Others look at the region's history, culture, or religion.
Cycling tours are growing in popularity as well. If you have a client who wants a more adventurous experience without a bus tour, then this may be appropriate for them. Other tours focus specifically on adventure sports such as diving, rock climbing, or hiking. Discuss all of these options with your client before making reservations for them. This way you can offer them the most personalized and individual experience possible.
Asia is a vast area with a lot of diversity. From the cosmopolitan cities of Tokyo and Japan to the culturally rich area of Rajasthan, India, there really is something for everybody. Beach goers who are looking for an exotic tropical vacation head to Southeast Asia and the coastline of Thailand and Indonesia, while those who are looking for temples or history will enjoy a trip to Cambodia or Tibet. Nepal is one of the world's top hiking destinations. Whether your clients are looking for short, two day hikes into the Himalayan Mountains, or a multi-week trek through the top of the world, Nepal has something to offer everybody.
Travel within the region is heavily influenced by the seasonal weather. Monsoon seasons bring heavy rain and extreme weather. Monsoons also hit different countries at different times. As a regional expert, it is important that you know when the best times to visit are. During low seasons in some countries prices are much cheaper, but travel is limited and the experience can be frustrating. Extreme temperatures can also effect a client's experience in an area. If your client wants to trek in Nepal then spring and fall months are really their only option. During these times the rains are limited and the temperature is mild. Northern China can also get quite cold in the winter. If your clients are interested in scuba diving or snorkeling in Southeast Asia, there are also peak times for that. As an expert on a country, this is information that your clients will refer to you for.
Marketing Your Business
Although Asian travel is popular, it is not yet to levels of Europe or the Caribbean. There may be less travel agents in your area specializing in Asian travel, but if there are some, consider focusing on a few specific countries or styles of travel that they may not address. Once you've narrowed down your specialty you can decide how to best market your business. If you pick countries that are famous for outdoor sports such Nepal, Thailand, or Indonesia, you may find success advertising at nearby colleges or universities. These young students may be thrilled with the prospect of hiking in the Himalayas or diving in Thailand. If your focus is on history and culture in China then consider working with schools that have Chinese programs. These schools often provide international trips or study abroad programs for students. Even if you aren't able to work directly with the school, the parents of the students may be interested in your business. They may either be interested in visiting their children who are studying abroad or even traveling with their kids through a tour.