The majority of Wendy Wu Tours customers have been happy to defer bookings or “sit tight” on future travel plans, the operator’s founder has said.
Speaking on a Travel Weekly Webcast, chairwoman Wendy Wu said refund credit notes were being offered for a small number of customers pending repayments from airlines and suppliers.
But she said most clients and the operator’s agent partners had been overwhelmingly supportive and flexible and were happy to trust the operator to “make the right decisions”.
“Lots of customers are happy to defer or change to later in the year or next year,” she said. “For the very few people who say they must cancel, then we are helping them to get the refund.”
Wu said years of strong financial discipline meant Wendy Wu Tours’ future was “very safe and secure”, and customers were reassured that the operator “was going to be there, no matter what”.
She said: “The government furlough is a wonderful support but nonetheless of course we are losing a lot of money. We are using our savings but what you save for is a crisis like this.”
She confirmed that the operator was promoting areas of strength which had previously not been core focuses, such as Euro-Asia and the five ‘Stans’ in central Asia.
But she said she also hoped for strong demand for China, Japan and Korea when restrictions were lifted, as strict measures introduced to limit and track the spread of coronavirus meant they would be perceived as among the safest destinations to visit.
Referring to customers due to travel later in the year, she added: “There is no panic for the autumn customers. They trust us and know we will make the right decision [based on UK advice and China’s policy on inbound travel].”