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Q: How do China Advocates’ tours differ from those of other travel companies?
A: Our tours differ in three important ways.
First, our tours are created exclusively for the client, whether an institution or small group. This means we do not have a “product line” or prepackaged tours.
Second, our tours are designed around a specific theme, including traditional or modern Chinese or Japanese art, Chinese spirituality, the natural environment and wildlife, Chinese minorities, Asian architecture, the Silk Road, and many more. The theme creates a focus that allows us to introduce the tour group to local experts in the field. To meet these scholars, artists, cultural specialists, spiritual masters, and other such educated resources is an unforgettable experience.
Finally, since we only operate in Asia, we are constantly refining our tour experience. We have the long view, which most other travel companies cannot match. Focusing on a single region enables us to continually build on our tour expertise.
Q: Aren’t all tours really the same, just a series of sightseeing stops, meals, and hotels?
A: Absolutely not. That would be like saying all food is the same.
The key for travel is the daily schedule. A well-designed daily schedule is crafted with a view to cultural experience, while a routine schedule merely moves the group from stop to stop without regard to experience at all. Importantly, the skill in scheduling daily activities depends on cultural sophistication. It is one thing to drop a tour group off at the Forbidden City and let tour members wander on their own, and quite another to arrange for a private viewing of royal artifacts where the Palace Museum curator presents a short talk on “the personal taste of the emperors.”
In our view, tour success depends on a series of insightful experiences unfolding throughout the day such as reveal the spirit of China. This must be the focus or the tour descends into mass tourism.
So expertise in Eastern culture and tradition is paramount. Since we have been working in Asia for nearly three decades, we have acquired a deep understanding of these cultural domains. This is the reason we always come back to culture. Many things of great importance occurred in the Far East thousands of years ago and is re-emerging in those countries today. Those are the focus of our tours.
Q: What about cost? Won’t I pay a lot more for your tour than a competitor’s?
A: If you compare our tour costs with competitors in the luxury Asia travel market, we come in about mid-range. But that figure is well worth it.
Q: Why do you say it is well worth it?
A: Many areas of Asia are rapidly modernizing. Rapid change results in great competition for resources, which plays out dramatically in the travel world.
We insure that your experience is top-notch. That the accommodations, transportation, and restaurants meet American standards even in small cities and villages. We provide local guides so that your experience is rich. We often meet with curators of museums and special experts in cultural fields so that you can truly appreciate the delights of the differences between our societies. And yet, we are all the same!
To offer the feeling of quality and care means that many people both in America and Asia are dedicated to the tour’s success. And this attention to detail produces a sense of ease that embodies our idea of ‘fine touring’.
In our view, travel cannot be done any other way.