Apple Vacations is challenging itself to find alternative sources of income while still aiming to be the top choice for travellers once the industry recovers.
Being resilient by Lee San
PETALING JAYA: As the tourism industry grapples with movement restrictions imposed in the country, travel agency Apple Vacations is challenging itself to find alternative sources of income while still aiming to be the top choice for travellers once the industry recovers.
“The company has turned to selling imported fruits and popular snacks from Japan and South Korea, ” said Apple Vacations group executive chairman Datuk Seri Lee Ee Hoe, who is better known among his peers as Leesan.
The pandemic has been a painful lesson on the need to diversify as the travel industry is especially susceptible to disasters and crises.
“For many years, although my tour business has expanded from Japan to all parts of the world, it remains a tour business.
“Hence, I started to think whether I can treat travel business as a base, and then place other eggs in a different basket, ” he said in MySinchew, the English portal for Sin Chew Daily.
On Jan 15, Apple Vacations launched Tool Apple Marketo to sell premium fruits as well as other popular items from Japan such as ichiran ramen, shiroi koibito (European-style biscuits) and Japanese wagyu.
Lee said with little to no improvement in domestic and international tourism, he is determined to use the opportunity to sell these items to continue paying his staff salary, which amounted to RM400,000 per month.
He is grateful that his new products are often quickly sold off once they were promoted on Facebook and the company’s website.
Lee added that the sale of the products was not meant to garner more profit, but more towards maintaining the company’s relationship with clients in order to prepare them for post-Covid-19.
“We hope our clients see us as walking the talk. We work hard during this difficult time.
“Once the pandemic is over, Apple will be the first thing that comes to their minds when they want to travel, ” he said.
“Prior to MCO 2.0, all Applenians were still in the working mode, keeping contacts with clients. With no travelling allowed, staff were still interacting with clients on tourism products and information across the world.
“We are the clients’ top choice. We are making efforts to prepare for the future, ” he said, adding that the company will continue to explore new platforms for Tool Apple Marketo even when the travel industry recovers as they aim to continue diversifying the business.
Published in The Star, 17 Feb 2021