InsideAsia Tours is planning to introduce several new destinations in Asia for 2020 as the operator prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year.
The Bristol-based company, whose main brand is InsideJapan Tours, will release details of the new destinations later this year.
InsideAsia currently sells trips to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, alongside its extensive Japan programme, but plans to expand its portfolio in the region.
Marketing manager James Mundy told TTG sales through agents had increased by 54% during the first three months of 2019, driven mainly by Japan being “on everybody’s radar” with the country hosting the Rugby World Cup in the autumn, and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“Agent sales are doing very well and have gone up sharply this year,” he said. “We’re expanding the agency team to eight people by adding another business development manager so we can extend our reach on the road.”
Mundy said that while surging Japan sales were the main reason behind this rise in trade sales, other destinations have also been doing well – Cambodia bookings were up by 35% during the first quarter.
“A lot of people used to go on a two- or three-day extension to Angkor Wat as part of a trip to Vietnam,” Mundy explained. “But now there’s a realisation that Cambodia is its own place with its own culture and food.
“We are looking at adding new destinations in Asia – agents are always asking us about other destinations.”
The company started as a Japan specialist in 2000 before expanding to destinations in south east Asia. “What we do in Japan is still huge compared to everything else,” said Mundy. “The Rugby World Cup has been a good driver for agent business.”
InsideJapan already has 1,400 customers booked to travel to Japan during the tournament from 20 September 20 to 2 November.
“We’ve been very clear we’re not an official supplier and we are not selling tickets to the games,” added Mundy. “But we are promoting ourselves as a Japan specialist and can offer value for money.
“It’s getting harder to find accommodation and flights but we’ve got room allocation around the rugby, including independent hotels and ryokans.”
Mundy said the operator was hoping for another boost in bookings to Japan when organisers start reselling tickets on 18 May.