Jet­set­ting with the chil­dren in tow

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By LI XUEQING in Shang­hai

lix­ue­qing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A grow­ing num­ber of Chi­nese par­ents are us­ing travel as a means of im­prov­ing their chil­dren’s de­vel­op­ment while build­ing fam­ily bonds. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey by Chi­nese on­line travel firm Tu­niu.com, 65 per­cent of Chi­nese par­ents in the coun­try have plans to travel abroad with their chil­dren.

Shang­hai leads the way in out­bound fam­ily travel, fol­lowed by Bei­jing, a statis­tic that is con­sis­tent with the eco­nomic sta­tus of the two ci­ties, said Xue Juan, a pub­lic re­la­tions rep­re­sen­ta­tive at Tu­niu.

In ad­di­tion to at least five do­mes­tic get­aways ev­ery year, Zhao Jin­song makes it a point to bring his six-year-old son to one over­seas des­ti­na­tion. The fam­ily has been to Thai­land and the Saipan Is­land so far.

“We want to broaden our son’s hori­zons,” said the 38-year-old IT project man­ager.

Zhao added that their fre­quent trav­els have helped in­still bet­ter man­ners and re­spon­si­bil­ity in his son, say­ing the child now knows how to look af­ter his younger coun­ter­parts dur­ing trips.

Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, fam­i­lies with chil­dren aged six to 12 form the ma­jor­ity of such trav­el­ers (60 per­cent),

Pan Yil­ing, pri­mar­ily be­cause elder chil­dren have more study com­mit­ments while younger ones re­quire too much care.

How­ever, the num­ber of par­ents trav­el­ing with ba­bies and tod­dlers are also on the rise — more than 30 per­cent of Tu­niu’s clients aged un­der 18 are preschool chil­dren, up 10 per­cent from the cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod last year, said Xue.

“Many peo­ple think that ba­bies or tod­dlers can­not re­mem­ber what hap­pens dur­ing the trip, but that’s not true,” said Pan Yil­ing, a 32-year-old free­lancer in Shang­hai who has taken his two-year-old son to over­seas des­ti­na­tions such as Sin­ga­pore and Hong Kong.

“For ex­am­ple, my son could re­call that the an­i­mal he saw in a book was the same one he saw at a zoo in Sin­ga­pore,” added Pan.

Based on the sur­vey re­sults, nine out of the 10 top out­bound des­ti­na­tions are in Asia, as most par­ents say that their young chil­dren find it dif­fi­cult to han­dle long flights.

“We usu­ally go to places where it takes no more than six hours by plane, oth­er­wise the kid’s bi­o­log­i­cal clock will be dis­rupted,” said She Jialin, who has a five-year-old daugh­ter.

Ja­pan was ranked first mainly due to it hav­ing at­trac­tions such as Tokyo Dis­ney­land and the Chibi Maruko park in Shizuoka. The United States came in 9th on the list. Xue said that fam­i­lies go on study tours in the US be­cause of the coun­try’s abun­dance in higher ed­u­ca­tion resources.

Al­itrip, the on­line travel plat­form of Chi­nese in­ter­net gi­ant Ali Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd, re­ported that most par­ents fa­vor lo­ca­tions with chil­dren-friendly fa­cil­i­ties such as Dis­ney­land, Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios and Happy Val­ley. Is­land des­ti­na­tions have also been gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity among Chi­nese par­ents, with Phuket, Mal­dives, Bali and Saipan rank­ing among the top four.

in Shang­hai

a 32-year-old mother

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