'Silver' tourists may become travel goldmine

Updated: 2015-09-15 08:58

By Su Zhou(China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

'Silver' tourists may become travel goldmine

A group of seniors takes a mountain hike in Lushan, Jiangxi province. Provided to China Daily

New driving force

"Group travel only suits seniors or those traveling for the first time" said Dun Jidong, Ctrip's senior sales manager. "In the past few years, we've seen a trend whereby more people are willing to plan their trips themselves. We don't think too many young tourists will rely on group travel in the future."

Dun also said many senior travelers have been influenced by their children. "Outbound tourism isn't a big deal right now, but as soon as offices are opened, so more people can obtain foreign visas in their own cities rather than having to travel to get them, many seniors will book trips with the aid of their children," he said, adding that the market will expand massively in the next two years.

Statistics from Ctrip show that many routes-such as Taiwan, tropical islands and trips to European countries such as France, Italy and Switzerland-are becoming classic choices for seniors.

Unlike travel agencies that seniors directly, Ctrip started has started to push for growth via their children. "Chinese children are willing to spend money on their parents," Dun said. "After the tragic Eastern Star accident on the Yangtze River, many children are concerned about their parents' safety on trips. And for our senior-tailored tours, safety and comfort are the priorities."

Ctrip said the adoption of the guidelines has resulted in its seniors' trips costing about 10 percent more than those for younger clients, but many older customers are willing to pay extra to ensure peace of mind.

Zhang Guangrui, honorary director of the Tourism Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the current situation isn't just a problem for cash-conscious elderly people, but for the industry as a whole.

"Right now, more leading travel service providers should be introducing real, tailored services for seniors," he said.

"We can't just say senior travelers only want bargains or 'cheap and nasty' trips. Currently there are not that many tailor-made services for seniors, so if they have to spend too much and we provide products that are only appropriate for young people, they won't buy them."

Contact the writer at suzhou@chinadaily.com.cn

Previous Page 1 2 3 Next Page