Ag­ing pop­u­la­tion brings busi­ness for travel sec­tor

China Daily - - BUSINESS - By OUYANG SHIJIA

After Oc­to­ber ev­ery year, 58-yearold Yu Ping packs her bags and sets off on an off-peak trip, seek­ing a well-de­served break.

After spend­ing decades teach­ing pri­mary school pupils, Yu has found a new way to rekin­dle her pas­sion for liv­ing — trav­el­ing.

“Over the decades, I spent most of my life de­voted to work and fam­ily. Some­times I felt I could hardly get a break,” Yu said. “Now I’ve re­tired, I fi­nally get some leisure time and I want to see more of the world.”

China has an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion. There were 241 mil­lion peo­ple aged 60 and above at the end of 2017, and the num­ber is ex­pected to hit 487 mil­lion by 2050.

The coun­try’s ag­ing pop­u­la­tion will bring new op­por­tu­ni­ties for the mar­ket, and an in­creas­ing pro­por­tion of con­sumers will pre­fer to pur­chase high-qual­ity prod­ucts and ser­vices, noted Wang Bin, co-founder and pres­i­dent of ven­ture cap­i­tal and tech­nol­ogy-fo­cused me­dia plat­form iyiou.com.

Older Chi­nese peo­ple trav­eled to 74 coun­tries in 2018, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from lead­ing on­line travel com­pany Ctrip. Among se­nior trav­el­ers, 24 per­cent chose to travel for more than seven days, com­pared to 19 per­cent in 2016.

“To­day, se­niors have new re­quire­ments, and we need to up­date the of­fer­ings ac­cord­ingly,” the re­port noted.

Sta­tis­tics from Ctrip showed 82 per­cent of se­niors pre­fer pack­aged trips, and 85 per­cent choose four or five-star travel plans.

Com­pared with younger tourists, se­niors are will­ing to spend more money on their va­ca­tions. Peo­ple born in the 1950s have be­come the big­gest spenders, with the av­er­age spend on a pack­aged tour reach­ing 3,115 yuan ($456) in 2018.

For in­stance, se­nior trav­el­ers from Shang­hai spent 4,989 yuan last year on av­er­age for pack­aged trips, up by 11 per­cent year-on-year.

More Chi­nese re­tirees are in­creas­ingly us­ing on­line book­ing sites to plan their trips, with Ctrip find­ing 54 per­cent of the age group pre­fer­ring to use on­line travel plat­forms.

A wide range of new prod­ucts have emerged in re­cent years, in­clud­ing cus­tom­ized trips, themed tours, pri­vate tours and cruise trips.

Ac­cord­ing to Ctrip, trav­el­ers aged above 55 ac­counted for 16 per­cent of peo­ple book­ing such cus­tom­ized trips last year, with the av­er­age spend hit­ting 3,500 yuan.

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