Earlier this month, Wendy Wu Tours introduced a fresh face to their national sales team.
Meet Tamba Lebbie! With 17 years experience in the travel industry, Lebbie brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the role of national sales manager.
And a little birdy told us he also brings some pretty great dance moves to the office.
The company’s Global Director of Sales, and Deputy UK MD John Warr, personally came to Australia to introduce the wonderful Lebbie to Wendy Wu’s consortia partners resulting in MANY very cute photos.
We met Lebbie in a lovely little wine bar in Surry Hills last week to find out why China is so hot right now and talk all things Wendy Wu.
Lebbie told us he was drawn to Wendy Wu based on their shining reputation and his curiosity for travel within China.
“I saw [the job] as an opportunity to go sink my teeth in and make a difference. Wendy Wu has got a great reputation in the market, I’d always known that but after joining the company I realised there is even more to it than I knew,” Lebbie said.
“I thought I knew quite a bit about Asia but coming into the role I realised my knowledge of China was very limited; it’s such an amazing country! I’d been to China before and thought I knew it but I didn’t even scratch the surface.”
China seems to be emerging as a popular travel destination for many Australians, and Lebbie rules this up to its presence in the news cycle.
“China is in the media a lot and people are excited about it,” he enthused.
“Australia does a lot with China so you hear about China on tv, and people are intrigued. ‘Let’s go and see China! What is in China? What can I experience?'”
Known for its quirky style and off-the-beaten-path attitude, Wendy Wu wants to show Australians the cultural depths of China. The China we so often don’t see in the media.
With 56 different cultural groups in provincial China, travellers can experience an array of different traditions, foods and dress.
“It’s like the country is starting to open up and people are finally starting to discover it,” Lebbie said.
“Even the wall, our director of global sales John Warr said he did the wall recently and went to an area that isn’t touristy. He didn’t bump into a soul.”
“Even though we’re going to places that are well known, we go to places that are not frequented by lots of people so it’s off the beaten track even at the wall.”
As for relationships with trade, Lebbie said the company works wonderfully with travel agents.
“We support the trade heavily in many ways,” he said.
“We do corporate advertising with agents, our partners reach out to their databases and let customers know what’s out there, what’s special, what’s going on with Wendy Wu and we support them towards that.”
It’s through his close work with the trade that Lebbie has noticed the strengthening of the industry, rather than its demise.
“I’ve been in the industry for many years and from the get-go 16-17 years ago, people were talking about the demise of bricks and mortar travel agency,” Lebbie told us.
“But we talk to our counterparts in the industry they’re still here. They’re bigger and stronger than ever.”
“In Australia, a majority of people want to interact with a travel agent. They want to interact with an expert that does that repeatedly and consistently.”
“That does not mean people cant do it for themselves, of course they can, but they just want that security, that blanket. They want to go and talk to somebody to give them that extra comfort.”
“There is a space for OTAS and some people want to use them but we’re still here. And we’re still growing. We’re set to have our best year ever so its exciting for us.”