For more than two decades Helen Wong’s Tours has been prominent in the Australian travel market creating and developing a contrasting range of holiday itineraries for independent and group travellers to China.
It was appropriate that during Beijing’s hosting of the Summer Olympics in 2008 that the respected travel wholesale company celebrated its 21st birthday. The company’s achievements had reached gold medal level, thanks to the work and experience of 20 or more Australian staff and 30-strong crew in China.
Since company founder Helen Wong opened the agency in suburban Sydney in 1987, the popular businesswoman has approached her work with plenty of passion, dedication and professionalism.
Heavenly - Helen taking her initial steps through Beijing's Temple of Heaven.
For her initial efforts, the company – its headquarters are now in the heart of Sydney’s CBD - has grown dramatically with the addition of a program dedicated to touring Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The company also caters for travel to vibrant Hong Kong and multi-cultural Macau.
TRAVEL INDUSTRY AND BUSINESS AWARDS
Over the years, Helen Wong’s Tours has been repaid for its professionalism with a swag of travel industry and business awards _ lauded by colleagues, industry heads and journalists who have had the privilege to work and travel with Ms Wong and her team.
In 1993, Ms Wong tailored an exclusive itinerary for former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret, ultimately escorting the couple on a study program in a People’s Republic previously veiled by mystery and intrigue.
Two years later, the Sydney-based agency was named among Australia’s top 100 fastest-growing private companies by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Business Review Weekly, a prize treasured by Helen Wong and her team.
In 1996, Ms Wong was further rewarded for her efforts by reaching the finals of the coveted _ and very competitive _ Telstra-sponsored Businesswoman of the Year.
Qantas Airways also announced that Helen Wong’s Tours had joined the top 10 supporting agents in NSW and was also commended for outstanding achievements in sales.
The accolades continued when Asian airline Dragonair voted Helen Wong’s Tours the best agent in consecutive years - 1999 and 2000. She also successively bid to host the 25th annual general meeting of the prestigious Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) in Shanghai, an event which was roundly applauded by the more than 200 attendees.
As a result of the AGM, Ms Wong was crowned Communicator of the Year by the association’s national writers.
In the years to follow, Ms Wong and her thriving company collected a few more prized trophies as tourists from Australia to China steadily increased, thus strengthening the wholesaler’s growth.
21ST BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS
During the company’s 21st birthday celebrations, letters of praise flooded the office, one from leading Sydney newspaper cartoonist, The Daily Telegraph’s Warren Brown, who described Ms Wong as “gracious and inspirational”. “She’s warm and has outstanding vision, professional and kind hearted,” he wrote.
Greetings - Always a warm welcome.
In Warren’s coffee table book _ The Great Peking to Paris Expedition _ which followed his team’s epic journey across the Gobi desert in classic vintage cars and was filmed as a TV series for the ABC, he also wrote of Helen Wong’s valuable assistance in arranging Air China tickets for the team of drivers to Beijing when other sponsorship avenues had been fruitless.
Radio announcer John Kerr, of Sydney station 2UE and affiliate stations, said that during the years in which he hosted a talkback program on 2UE he found Ms Wong to be enormously supportive in providing prizes of trips to China with listeners returning full praise for the organisation.
Australian travel writer and rock historian Glenn A Baker echoed the views of others when he wrote: “The truly remarkable Helen Wong doesn’t so much sell the new China as a destination as stand emblematic of it.
“She is the principal connection for Australians to the still-emerging country and everything she does is marked by great professionalism, enthusiasm and a deep knowledge.”
OUR SPECIAL TRAVELLING GUESTS
Former Australian Test cricket captain Steve Waugh travelled with his wife on a Helen Wong-tailored tour of China and described it as a wonderful holiday, thanking Helen and her staff.
“Our visit to China was one filled with many new and exciting experiences,” he said. “The tour suited our needs and we saw Guilin, Xian and Beijing with every detail, no matter how big or small, being attended to.”
Former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam said of his study program: “The travel arrangements were highly acclaimed by all who took part in the tour.”
Helen Wong’s enthusiasm, professionalism and passion for China and other Asian destinations - Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Hong Kong and Macau - have made her a significant figure in attracting Australians to tour and experience firsthand the real Asia.
Touring - Helen takes a 'hands-on' approach.
Touring - Helen takes a 'hands-on' approach.