A shifting market preference for online bookings and independent travel has significantly transformed the Hong Kong travel agency landscape, leading to a change of ownership for several established operators in recent months.
Inbound travel agency Associated Tours has closed shop after over 40 years in operation following the passing of its major owner. It has been taken over by Gray Line Tour in November 2016, with six full-time staff joining the company.
Mongkok, Hong Kong
Gray Line managing director, Michael Wu, told TTG Asia: “Associated Tours has sold its coach business to Kwoon Chung Bus while we take up its longhaul MICE and inbound travel as these are the missing links for us.
"With dwindling group tours, burgeoning FITs and OTA trends, traditional agents face even more competition. Given limited resources, it’s hard for SMEs agents to compete,” Wu remarked.
"As the business environment keeps changing, traditional agents like us have to create new ideas in order to generate higher turnover."
Meanwhile, tailor-made tour specialist Concorde Travel, which was established in 1978, has joined forces with the Jebsen Travel Group since last month.
Said Concorde's managing director Graham Elsom: "Joining Jebsen allows Concorde Travel to leverage the Jebsen Travel Group's extensive travel industry portfolio and access the best deals."
The entire Concorde team has been absorbed by Jebsen, while Elsom will act as travel consultant and business development advisor. The name Concorde Travel, however, will cease to exist.