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Chinese senior travel market grows in potential

(People's Daily Online)    15:48, January 28, 2019

(Photo/Hangzhou Daily)

More senior Chinese citizens are leaving home to enjoy travel than ever before, thanks to added savings and time, combined with the fact that many people pay for tours as a gift to their parents, Workers Daily reported on Jan. 23.

According to lvmama.com, a well-known Chinese tourism and travel service provider, in 2018, the platform saw the number of senior tourists over the age of 60 increase by 50 percent, with 70 percent choosing package tours. Sixty percent of these tours were given as a gift, arranged by the children of seniors.

“When we were young, we wanted to travel to many places, but we failed to do so for many reasons. Now that we’re still in good health, we must visit as many places as possible,” said a retired Chinese man surnamed Qu, who disclosed that he and his wife now enjoy a combined pension of around 15,000 yuan (about $2,206.3) every month, most of which goes towards travel.

“In the past three years since retirement, we have been to the famous scenic spots of Tibet Autonomous Region, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Hubei Province, and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region,” said Qu, adding that they plan to travel more this year.

In China, the number of people aged over 60 has exceeded 200 million, while senior travelers have become the target group of tourism development.

According to an investigation report on the living conditions of elderly Chinese citizens released by the China Research Center on Aging, 22.2 percent of respondents stated that they are already planning to, or are likely to, travel in the coming year.

“While they have enough money and time and are in good health, elderly people want to go out and see more of the world. Nowadays, many people also encourage their parents to do so and help pay for travel costs,” an executive of a travel company in Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, told Worker’s Daily, disclosing that senior travelers are often the main visitors to scenic spots outside of holiday periods.

To attract more senior visitors, many Chinese scenic spots have launched elderly concessionary fares. From May to October 2018, a total of 23,340 seniors enjoyed half-fare or free entrance to Bosten Lake in Xinjiang.

China’s leading online travel agency, Ctrip, has also rolled out a series of innovative tourism products and 33 new service standards for senior travelers.

“Senior travelers represent a huge market, especially today when they have a growing interest in travel. To better meet their needs, we have customized special routes for them and launched more high-end services,” said an executive of a tourism development company in southeast China’s Fujian Province.

According to the executive, price is no longer the biggest concern for senior travelers, with many paying more attention to comfort.

Industry insiders noted that as the senior travelers’ views on travel are changing, tourism product providers need to innovate their service for this group of travelers, suggesting that they can develop better medical service and culture-oriented trips.     

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji)

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