Goway, in partnership with the tourist offices of Hong Kong and Thailand, greeted 60 travel agents for dinner in Ottawa on Tuesday evening, with the purpose of showcasing the attractions of a vacation combining the two destinations.
Diane Molzan, general manager, Asia for Goway, had invited the agents to an evening of learning and entertainment, provided by Yuen Kan Wong of the Hong Kong Tourist Board and Kayla Shubert of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, who offered presentations for around 20 minutes on each of the destinations.
The entertainment came in the form of a series of games presented by the hosts throughout the evening, with presents and prizes on hand.
The big question: why combine Thailand and Hong Kong?
“There is no direct flight to Thailand from Canada. Therefore, a stopover in Hong Kong makes sense,” explained Molzan.
The other reasons are the opportunity to have an urban experience in Hong Kong, followed by a relaxing visit on the beaches of Thailand, also allowing Canadians to visit more than one country during their travels to Asia.
Hong Kong, like a local
“We want tourists to explore Hong Kong like locals,” Wong remarked. The city is known for three main activities: eating, shopping and experiencing its nightlife.
Wong underlined the fact that the city is host to more than 40,000 restaurants, from street stalls to rooftop eateries.
“The people of Hong Kong prefer to eat out than in the house,” she commented, “because it’s very affordable.”
She did not linger on shopping; after all, Hong Kong’s reputation on the matter speaks for itself.
“From street markets to the most prestigious brands, we have absolutely everything,” she said.
Instead, she emphasized one particularly important point.
“Hong Kong is 30 per cent urban, and 70 per cent rural,” she said. “Tourists who have spent two days in the city think they have seen it all, but this isn’t the case. It’s possible to go hiking only twenty minutes from the financial centre.”
Thailand: not just beaches
Thailand, located at the heart of Southeast Asia, is unfortunately not accessible by any direct flight from Canada; hence, the suggestion to stop off in Hong Kong for a few days.
In 2016, 244,000 Canadians made the journey to Thailand, for an average stay of around 17 days. Another interesting fact – 61 per cent of these visitors returned for a second time, or more.
One of the main reasons for these repeat stays is the diversity of the country’s regions. At Phuket or Koh Samui, lovers of beautiful beaches – not to mention adventures of all kinds – will feel at home. In Bangkok, tourists will be immersed in an immense, crowded capital, filled with different sounds. In the north of the country, at Chiang Mai – the 'Rose of the North' – travellers can discover local artisanship and meet with elephants.
On this point, Shubert noted that some companies are more ethical than others; animal lovers will be happy to learn that Goway partners with small local companies that treat elephants with respect.
Still in the North is Chiang Rai, named the ‘golden triangle’ for its ancient opium plantations, which have since been replaced with rice and coffee.
So many different experiences, then, that Canadians can discover during the course of their travels.
Three special offers
Three special offers which allow travellers to save $400 per couple (on reservations made before June 30, 2017) were presented to agents yesterday evening. These are:
- Nine days in Bangkok and Hong Kong, starting from $2,899, departing from Toronto. “For lovers of food and shopping, as well as shopping.”
- Nine days in Chiang Mai and Hong Kong, starting from $2,949, departing from Toronto. “For lovers of nature seeking an adventure – as well as foodies.”
- Nine days in Phuket and Hong Kong, starting from $3,299, departing from Toronto. “Perfect for a honeymoon or for beach lovers. It’s also perfect for girls’ trips, with the opportunity to shop in Hong Kong and relax at the beach,” Molzan added.
After Kingston, Ottawa and Windsor, Goway takes its Ontarian tour to London on Thursday evening. More information is available at gowayagent.com.
Molzan can be contacted at email@example.com, or (800) 387-8850 (ext. 5683).