Starting as a personnel manager at Wing On Travel after finishing an MBA more than 15 years ago, Chan worked her way up the corporate ladder while gaining exposure to the company's various departments, including customer service, marketing and business development.
"I am one of the lucky ones to have been given so many chances to discover new horizons in the tourism industry. My time with the company was filled with excitement and challenges and has passed by so quickly that I barely noticed it had been more than 15 years," Chan says.
She was appointed to the company's board of directors when Ctrip, a leading online travel agent in China, acquired 90 per cent of Wing On Travel in 2010. Chan now oversees the overall management and operations of the company, including its overseas subsidiaries, and is responsible for formulating key business strategies.
"Tourism is a huge industry and Hong Kong is just a starting point. I see tremendous opportunities lying ahead in the robust Greater China region," she says. "It is now difficult to seek stronger growth within Hong Kong, but China has become a stepping stone for us to expand."
Chan joined Wing On Travel when the company had only about 100 staff and was still running under a traditional family business model. With her training in business administration and management, she was eager to see if the company could adopt a more systematic approach to improve its management. But her ultimate goal was to boost the standards of integrity and professionalism in the travel industry.
"At the time, you didn't see many university graduates entering the tourism industry as it was considered as less professional. But I didn't think that should be the case," Chan says.
She introduced a management trainee programme and began recruiting graduates, who were required to hone their skills in tour guiding as well as crisis management through a series of in-house training and assessment programmes. "A good compa