Abraham Hu has almost 20 years of experience, ranging from leading tours with Al Gore, Robert Di Niro, and Yoko Ono, to running programs for prestigious organizations, such as Stanford University
Abraham graduated with a master’s degree in tourism management from Beijing International Studies University and has lived in Beijing for over 20 years. He has been in the tourism industry for over 18 years during which he has worked tirelessly to create opportunities for sustainable travel working with a wide array of visitors ranging from elite Beijing primary schools to former Vice President Al Gore.
Abraham Hu now currently works for WildChina Education as the Senior Program Manager, operating multiple trips either on the ground or from the Beijing headquarters.
In this article, we’ll get to delve in to learn about the REAL person behind this adventure-filled position.
So, Abraham, in your own words how would you describe yourself? Who is Abraham Hu?
I think I am the kind of person who likes to keep learning and never give up; once I like something, I like to stick to that and do my best to accomplish this.
For example, when I first started working as a tour guide, I was only at the elementary level. So, I pursued continuous learning and 3 years later, I became an Intermediate Tour Guide. Two years after that, I achieved the Senior Tour Guide level. In order to achieve these roles, I had to pass the exams and learn more about history and culture of China.
I really want to keep studying and learning more. Once I like something, I really want to achieve it. I like to persevere and pursue my passions.
As someone who’s been in the travel industry for almost 20 years, what are your most memorable experiences?
I would say my most memorable experiences are the people who I serve. In the early 2000’s, I was a tour guide for celebrities, such as Robert De Niro and Yoko Ono, as well as the former American vice president, Al Gore.
With Robert De Niro, I served him and his family. When working with a group like this, everybody has their own set of interests that you need to cater to. So, when I did things like explaining China’s history and culture, I needed to adapt to each of them and present something according to each of their interests and age.
I learned a lot working with Al Gore. He talked a lot about artificial intelligence. He said in the future robots will replace people’s jobs. Jobs would actually become a luxury item and it would be extremely difficult for people to get jobs. Because of that, I was really determined to learn more in order to adapt to the changing world.
For Yoko Ono – wow! She is very talented; I specifically remember her work called the “Golden Ladders.” As a matter of fact, she’s very fashionable and a feminist. She wants to promote women’s social status. Working with her, I learned a lot about art. A lot of people think she only got famous because of her husband, but I actually think she’s talented and famous because of her work. And although she’s in her 70s, she’s still so powerful and can speak so loudly for what she believes in. When she speaks with passion, I can’t help but think “Wow, that’s really women’s power.”
They are really great and nice people, and for me, I think that was a great opportunity! It’s an unforgettable experience for me to serve them. As a matter of fact, I really want to improve myself in regards to my knowledge about history and tourism, and then I can serve even more high-end accounts.
In that timespan, what changes in the travel industry have you experienced?
Before 2010, I mostly worked with overseas tourists who wanted traditional travel services. They did not have the opportunity to choose the itinerary specifically tailored to them and so they just followed the tour group.
After 2010 – I think because of the Internet and the availability of information – more and more people like to travel in small groups and book tours through travel agencies, such as WildChina, to get customized trips.
After all you’ve experienced, what made you decide to join WildChina first as a Tour Guide and now as their Senior Program Manager?
Firstly, I really like the culture here. Our slogan is “Experience China differently.” And at WildChina, everyone – including tour guides – will go the extra mile in serving the clients.
For example, one of my clients from the USA wanted to buy some udon noodles for her son, so she searched all over Beijing for it, but she failed to find it. She told me about this, and because I wanted to help her search for it, I searched several supermarkets after work. The next day, before her departure back to the USA, I brought the udon noodles for her. She was so happy because she wanted it for her son. I just wanted to go the extra mile to help her because she’s a mom wanting to help her son, and I can understand her situation since I’m a father, and I have my own daughter to care for, too. Honestly, I didn’t have to help her but this is WildChina’s culture, and that’s what we do.
Secondly, being a tour guide is a highly respected in WildChina, but not in other companies. WildChina not only respects the people who bring in the money but also the frontline staff. I feel really valued here.
For anyone looking to travel China, what are some insider tips and tricks you would give them?
For anyone who wants to travel China, please choose a professional travel agency who can customize your trips based on your needs, hobbies, and interests. This can really make your trip memorable and help to experience China differently.
Interview Conducted and Written up by Rosanna Ho
Chinese Translation Wendy Kung
To experience China Differently and pursue your own journey full of continuous learning, fun, and adventure – virtually or in-person – please contact email@example.com or explore programs on our website at https://wildchinaeducation.com//
This interview has been edited for depth and brevity