Se­niors take big strides in world of travel

Adult chil­dren give pack­ages as gifts to help their el­ders get well-de­served rest

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By CHENG SI [email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

In­ter­est in travel for those over 60 years old grew in 2018, and their pas­sion for trips is ex­pected to con­tinue to in­crease this year, travel agen­cies said.

Lv­mama, an on­line travel agency head­quar­tered in Shang­hai, said trips by se­niors saw a year-on-year in­crease of 50 per­cent last year.

Se­nior trav­el­ers, on av­er­age, spent five days and 3,600 yuan ($530) on each trip.

The agency said that pur­chas­ing tour pack­ages for se­niors has be­come a pop­u­lar choice for younger gen­er­a­tions to show their care and love for par­ents.

About 60 per­cent of pack­ages re­served for se­niors on its plat­form were or­dered by adult chil­dren who viewed them as gifts or bonuses for their el­derly par­ents, the agency said.

Ctrip, an­other on­line travel agency, added: “Re­tired peo­ple and those se­niors who are un­em­ployed at home have abun­dant free time. Trav­el­ing is a good way to spend their time and is also good news for their chil­dren, who are busy with their own lives.”

Se­nior trav­el­ers, ac­cord­ing to Ctrip, fa­vor group tour pack­ages over the self-guided ones pop­u­lar among with younger peo­ple. More than 80 per­cent of the agency’s se­nior users pur­chased group tour pack­ages over the past year.

Zhang Qi, a project di­rec­tor at Ctrip, said, “The group tours can make them more se­cure. Safety and be­ing com­fort­able are al­ways stressed by se­niors, as well as the qual­ity of the tour. They’ve rec­og­nized the de­fects of so-called low­priced pack­ages. Now they also em­pha­size the so­cial in­ter­ac­tion and spir­i­tual ex­pe­ri­ences of the trip.”

Do­mes­ti­cally, the most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions for se­niors last year were Bei­jing; Guilin in the Guangxi Zhuang au­ton­o­mous re­gion; Xi­a­men in Fu­jian province; Guiyang in Guizhou province; and Urumqi in the Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion, Ctrip said.

Se­nior trav­el­ers reached 858 over­seas des­ti­na­tions in 74 coun­tries and re­gions in 2018, with Thai­land, Ja­pan and Viet­nam be­ing their top choices, it said.

Cheng Lu, a 30-year-old from Bei­jing, or­dered a pack­age for her par­ents to visit Ja­pan dur­ing the re­cent New Year hol­i­day.

“The most im­por­tant is­sue is def­i­nitely safety, so I chose a medium-priced pack­age tour that cost about 10,000 yuan per per­son,” she said. “My mother and fa­ther helped take care of my new­born daugh­ter the last few months. It was a good chance for them to re­lax.”

The num­ber of se­niors in China is ex­pected to reach 255 mil­lion by 2020 with their spend­ing ex­pected to ex­ceed 7 tril­lion yuan, which will help un­leash the po­ten­tial of a tourism mar­ket fo­cus­ing on se­niors, ac­cord­ing to a blue book by the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences.

The Min­istry of Cul­ture and Tourism re­leased a guide­line in Oc­to­ber to en­cour­age travel agen­cies to de­velop more pack­ages tai­lored for se­niors, as well as in­surance prod­ucts.

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