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New Online Gateway for Agents Selling China

By Dori Saltzman,
January 04, 2008

Just in time for the jump in travel to China that is expected to coincide with the 2008 Summer Olympics and 2010 Expo, Triton Distribution Systems, Inc. has released Red Dragon Express, the first online portal specifically designed to provide travel agencies with access to Chinese airlines, tours, cruises and hotels.

According to Triton Distribution Systems, the continuing challenge to travel agents selling China has been the need for agents to contact individual vendors and often offer full payment in advance of registration confirmation.

"Today, what they have is very manual, very rudimentary, very difficult, because the Chinese government does not approve wire transfers in hard currency," said Gregory Lykiardopoulos, Triton chairman, CEO and founder.

"Today a travel agent sits there and goes from one Web site to another and another to be able to buy" domestic Chinese travel options.

The Red Dragon Express system eliminates these problems by providing a platform where agents can search for available travel, build a comprehensive itinerary, pay for the trip with one credit card transaction and receive one packet containing all the trip tickets.

The travel network offered by Red Dragon Express includes more than 580 international airlines and 23 domestic airlines, plus thousands of four- and five-star hotels, Yangtze River cruises, day tours, coach tours and multicity tours.

Agents "can combine international routing and purchase of tickets - either through a GDS or through a consolidator that is on our network - and then add on to that the domestic cruises, hotels and airlines," Lykiardopoulos said.

Nor do agents ever have to send money to China. All payments are made to Red Dragon Express in dollars, and Red Dragon Express does all exchange conversions and clearances.

In addition, agents have the opportunity to mark up prices because few Chinese tourism companies pay commissions.

"China does not want to send back commissions," Lykiardopoulos said, referring to the Communist government's stance on exportation of currency.

"We give the agents the opportunity to add whatever fee they want."

According to Lykiardopoulos agents can collect on the fees several ways including through ARC, in cash or Red Dragon Express will clear the fees charged on a credit card.

In addition to the booking capabilities, available only to travel professionals, the site also features a China travel guide. Travel agents interested in using the Red Dragon Express portal must register for the service. Two subscriptions are available: 12-months at $5 a month or 24-months at $4 a month.

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