Saturday, June 09, 2007

Missing in Action and Tibet Tour Companies

To those of you who follow my Travel Blog, Thank you! You will have noticed a long gap between postings. I haven't disappeared or lost interest in this blog. It's merely that I headed back to the States for 8 weeks over the summer. I do have a few posts to do about the "home leave" experience, family pics, and so on and will get to those shortly.

In the meantime, a preview of future attractions. We'll be off to Suzhou for a short weekend stay. Been there on business a few times, but never to see the sights. It's a trip that long overdue and finally scheduled.

After that will be the October holidays in Tibet. Just a quick note on that. I started a process in May to identify a tour company to set up a private tour for 6 people. I sent off emails to 10 tour companies - 8 based in Lhasa (possibly with an office in Chengdu), 1 based in Beijing, and 1 based in Shanghai. Based on website information, I expected the foreign-owned China based operations to be substantially more expensive. What I hadn't expected was that they would be the ones to NOT respond to my email request for a proposal.

The statistics are within 1 day, I received replies from 6 of 8 Tibet-based tour companies. Within 4 days, I received replies from all 8 of the 8 Tibet-based tour companies. I never received replies from the Beijing and Shanghai based (high priced) tour companies. Did they somehow know that I closely evaluate the price-value ratio on tour proposals, and there's might not meet my standards? Or is it that the firms that cater to the (well-heeled) expats and partner with the big global tour companies only want you to follow their plan? Or perhaps, it's just that I got what I expected - low service and high cost.

Anyway, for the record, we are booked with Tibetan Expeditions and I have my hopes pinned on a great trip. The other companies that I approached and who gave me a wide variety of interesting itinerary options were:

Tibet Family Tours
Shangrila Tours
Great Tibet Tour
Tours of Tibet
Access Tibet Tour
Visit Tibet
Tibet Wind Horse Adventure

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