Anyone who questions China’s emergence as the hot destination in
Asia need look no further than the experience of Uniworld to be
persuaded. In 1999, the Encino, Calif.-based company escorted only
775 passengers to the destination; three years later, the company
is on pace to host approximately 5,000 travelers there.
Uniworld anticipates that growth to continue into 2003.
“At this time, our 2003 China bookings are ahead of 2002 by
about 20%,” said Sam Nee, Uniworld vice president of Asia. The
company is offering the same set of China summer tours it offered
last year, he added.
The tour operator attributes much of its success in China to its
team of in-country tour managers, who complete an intensive
training program prior to entering service. Uniworld requires each
tour manager to be fluent in English and have a firm command of
Tour managers participate in all of Uniworld’s big-selling China
packages, including its Yangtze River summer cruise-tours, which
the company operates in conjunction with Victoria Cruises. The
tours, which range from 11 to 21 days, start at $1,898 per person,
including roundtrip air.
Clients choose from seven different Yangtze itineraries,
including Highlights of China and the Eastern Yangtze, an 11-day
itinerary with five days spent sailing the Yangtze from Wuhan to
Nanjing, plus ample time in Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou. The trip
is priced from $1,898 per person for a late March departure, with
prices rising to $2,248 for peak-month departures in September and
On the other end of the scale is the 21-day Grand Tour of China
and the Yangtze River tour, which includes a six-day Yangtze
sailing, visits to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Suzhou and Guilin,
ending with a two-night stay in Hong Kong. The Yangtze sailing
travels through the Lesser Three Gorges and visits the Three Gorge
Dam project, which will remain under construction until 2009.
Air-inclusive prices for this trip range from $4,198 per person for
a March 18, 2003, departure to $4,498 in September and October.
Not all of Uniworld’s China tours for next year involve the
Yangtze. One package, The Best of China, brings travelers to
Shanghai, Suzhou, Tongli, Beijing and Xian over the course of 12
days, followed by a three-day stay in Hong Kong. That itinerary
starts at $3,098 per person, including air.
‘Value’ Specials Return
This winter marks the second year for Uniworld’s Super Value
Holidays program, which offers specially priced single- or
multiple-city packages from December to the end of March 2003.
Uniworld made the winter-specials program available in July, and
many departures are nearly sold out, according to the company.
Uniworld positions the off-peak Super Value itineraries as a way
for travelers to experience China while avoiding crowds and hot
summer weather. All packages include roundtrip air on United or
This year, Uniworld offers four land tours as part of the
Beijing Holiday, a seven-day program priced
from $898, includes visits to the Great Wall, Ming Tombs and the
Forbidden City, as well as deluxe hotel accommodations.
Shanghai Holiday, seven days priced from $898,
includes a Shanghai city tour, with visits to the Bund, Old Town
and tranquil Yu Yuan Garden.
Beijing and Shanghai, a nine-day program that
combines the sights of both cities, starting at $1,198.
Beijing, Xian and Shanghai, a 10-day itinerary
featuring the main highlights of Beijing and Shanghai and a visit
to Xian to view the famed terra cotta warriors, starting at
Nee pointed out that this year Uniworld incorporated its first
cruise-tour into the Super Value Holidays program, a 12-night trip
that visits the “big three” Beijing, Shanghai and Xian along with a
four-night Yangtze Cruise. Prices start at $1,798 per person,
including all meals. Call 800-733-7820. Web site: www.uni