Wendy Wu Tours is to add more product to its new Middle East programme, predicting consumers will want to stay “a little closer to home” when Covid-19 travel restrictions are lifted.

Jordan, Lebanon and Israel have been introduced for 2021, but global sales director John Warr said: “We will be adding more again. We are confident about the future but we know it will be tough and we think people may want to stay a little closer to home once this is over.”

Warr predicted Central Asia might also be more appealing as not as far away as China and the Far East where Wendy Wu Tours originally specialised before broadening its offering.

That said, he confirmed there was “some interest in China” for next year, and he also predicted Japan would come back strongly next year.

“Japan is going to be popular and prices will go up, so our message is book now. This is creating some urgency,” he said, adding: “There will be a supply challenge in Japan next year. Luckily we have plenty of availability there – we’ve managed to take a lot of rooms.”

Warr is not expecting demand to come back in any meaningful way before this autumn.

“There’s not going to be much happening before the end of August. If it does, then that’s a bonus. But September and October are big departure months for us,” he said.

Wendy Wu Tours is running daily webinars for the trade. This week the operator is focusing on the Middle East, Taiwan and Korea, China and Japan.

Warr said between 50 and 70 agents were joining the webinars each day and he revealed a quiz had been added.