Several leading tour operators from the UK, Germany and France recently returned from a successful familiarization visit to Hangzhou where they were given the opportunity to experience first-hand the quality and variety of leisure activities which have been captivating domestic visitors for generations. Representatives in the UK from Kuoni, Carrier, Abercrombie & Kent, Cox & Kings, CTS Horizons, Destinology and Regent Holidays spent time on the city’s famed West Lake where they took in the nationally popular Impress West Lake nightly extravaganza, and later explored the Xixi Wetlands National Park – China’s first and only wetlands park.
The group, including key operators from Germany, France and the USA, visited the city’s Longjin tea plantation area, and the ancient Grand Canal, the world’s oldest and longest man-made canal stretching from Beijing to Hangzhou. Also on the itinerary was the revered Lingyin Buddhist temple – one of China’s oldest and most spectacular ancient monuments – and the nearby Aman Fayun resort. The group of nearly 30 operators stayed at the five-star Sheraton Xixi Wetlands Resort and inspected other luxury hotels including the Four Seasons located on West Lake; the Banyan Tree Xixi Wetlands Hotel, the contemporary Dragon Hotel; the Zhejiang Narada Hotel, the Marco Polo hotel, and the four-star Friendship hotel.
Commented Keira Welsted of Kuoni: “From the moment I landed into Hangzhou it blew me away; the beauty of the destination was so much more than what I had anticipated. The stunning West Lake, Green Tea plantations, temples, botanical gardens and high quality hotels. The fascination of the friendly locals, streets lined with flowers and the cleanliness was outstanding. I will with pride recommend Hangzhou as a destination that must be visited on any trip to China.” Another leading tour operator, Simon Lynch – Head of Retail for Abercrombie and Kent , further comments: “This is an excellent destination and one we can drive high spending business….Hangzhou is a perfect retreat at the end of a trip and can be coupled with some excellent theatre and food.”