Shanghai is one of the world’s great financial centres, but five Victoria based personal travel managers (PTMs) who took part in a TravelManagers exclusive famil discovered that visitors who focus purely on business during their stay, miss out on much of what this vibrant city has to offer.
For PTM Margherita Cilauro, representative for Pascoe Vale South it was her first visit to Shanghai, and she now feels comfortable and confident promoting the destination to her clients.
“I used to think that the majority of visitors to Shanghai were there for business, but I now realise that it is a city that has so much to offer, with something for everyone.”
Daniel Price, representative for Windsor, agrees that the famil has changed his perceptions of the city.
“Getting a sense of Shanghai airport and the layout of the city, especially the downtown area around Nanjing Rd including the People’s Park, was really beneficial for me,” he explains.
PTMs also attending the famil were Jeremy Ferguson representative from Brunswick West, Luke Vaughan representative from Kooyong and Frances Cochrane representative from Mooroolbark along with Marlene Lane, representing TravelManagers’ national partnership office.
Lane was fascinated by the different styles of architecture and many unique modern buildings that make up the city skyline.
“At night, it was even more amazing. We had dinner at the Radisson Blu Shanghai New World hotel’s restaurant, Epicure on 45, and as the restaurant revolved it revealed an incredible light show. The following night we saw the same show from another angle, as we took a 45-minute cruise along the river.”
However, the group’s time was not spent solely in Shanghai. On the Go Tours hosted the participants on a day trip which gave the opportunity to experience a very different side to China which included a visit to the village of Tongli, just one and a half hours’ drive from the city. This ancient village, which is sometimes described as ‘the Venice of the East’, is criss-crossed by 15 small river lanes that are spanned by 49 stone bridges in a variety of styles.
Cilauro says the village’s well-preserved architecture, private gardens, temples and houses made their visit a journey back in time.
“The authenticity of the village, shops, restaurants and gardens took us back hundreds of years to how life used to be in China. I would highly recommend my clients make the effort to see it for themselves.”
TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says the experiences of the PTMs on this famil support the company’s philosophy that first-hand knowledge is essential for providing great service to clients.
“For many of our PTMs, Shanghai is thought of primarily as a business destination and this famil has shown them a different side to the city, knowledge and experience they can share with their clients.”
Gazal adds, “First-hand experience also makes it easier to answer questions such as ‘what sort of power adapter will I need?’, ‘what are the local taxis like?’ and ‘what is internet access like?’ It’s this type of personal expertise that provides real value to their clients.”
The seven-night famil included plenty of time to explore the city, including a full day mystery Amazing Race-style activity and a free day to enjoy shopping on Nanjing Road or soak up the views during a walk along the Bund.
The famil was escorted by Kathryn Quigley from Carlson Rezidor Hotels and Mark Mulville of Malaysian Airlines with the participants appreciating the opportunity to experience both Malaysian’s business and economy class products. All five PTMs agreed that they were greatly impressed by the service in both cabins.
“Business class obviously offers you amazing personalised service and comfort that is truly fantastic. You can put your feet up and enjoy a chair-massage whilst you watch a movie, or lie flat for a good sleep,” says Cilauro, who adds that she was surprised and happy to find sufficient leg room and equally good service in economy class.
Price says Shanghai surprised all five first-time visitors, who found the locals to be friendly and helpful, and the city safe, easy to get around and paradise for shoppers.
“I was impressed by the number of trees in the downtown area and how clean and organised everything is, it is truly a holiday destination for anyone – solo travellers, families or honeymooners.”
TravelManagers’ exclusive Shanghai famil included a day trip to Tongli water town
Mark Mulville – Malaysian Airlines with PTMs Fran Cochrane, Daniel Price and Margherita Cilauro at Tongli water town
PTMs Daniel Price and Fran Cochrane made a formidable team in the famil’s day-long ‘Amazing Race’- discover Shanghai activity at the entrance to the city’s Ocean Aquarium
Experiencing a Shanghai river cruise from left to right local guide, Mark Mulville, Margherita Cilauro, Kathryn Quigley, Fran Cochrane, Jeremy Ferguson, Marlene Lane, Danial Price and Luke Vaughan
Travel Managers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.5 billion for 2017. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 500 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are secure and only used for client purchases.
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