Pandaw sinks

By | Category: Travel news

One of the river cruise companies that opened up trourism in Cambodia, Laos, Myanamar and Vietnam has closed down due to the pandemic. It also operated in India

The Orient Pandaw, one of seventeen ships that explored the rivers of South East Asia

With more lockdowns in the area, the owners of Pandaw felt that they couldn’t keep going any longer. Although they had searched for additional investment during the past year, none was forthcoming so another travel company has gone.

Why write about Pandaw when so many other companies are affected?

Because Pandaw had a great reputation for customer service and looking after its customers.

You only have to read the three part series about Vietnam by Patricia Cleveland-Peck that she wrote for Just about Travel three years ago to see that customer service that went beyond what might be expected.

After landing at 5am and being collected, she was taken, as an added bonus, to see the flower market with all its scents and bargaining in Hanoi

As I mentioned, Pandaw was one of the companies that opened up the inland waterways of this area. It grew rapidly largely based on its service and links with companies in the UK and Europe so much so that when it was closed last week, seventeen ships and the crews were dismissed.

The company brought back river cruising to the Irrawaddy and others copied. But Pandaw had an advantage,. Its small boats could take people where others boats couldn’t and was, thus, able initially to offer different cruises from competitors.

Having small boats meant that it was easier to provide a higher level of customer service and maybe that was why nearly half of travellers were repeat bookings.

Unless one of the companies with which it had links or an entrepreneur buys the company or the vessels there will be fewer river cruises for us to enjoy in the future.

For holidaymakers, that probably means that those companies remaining will raise their prices to help restore their balance sheets.

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