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China’s older generation emerges as a brisk travel market

china's travel market; older generation travel market in china


When Li Caohua retired in her late 50s, the doctor immediately joined millions of other Chinese seniors and hit the road to see more of her giant country.

李曹华(音)年近60岁的时候从医生的岗位上退休。刚一退休,她就像其他数百万中国老年人一样开始出去旅游,看看祖国更多的地方。

 

At the top of her destination list was tropical Hainan island in the south and the ancient villages around her home city of Beijing. Then there was the most grandiose of China's landscapes, the mythic brown waters of the Yangtze River and its mist-enveloped Three Gorges.

李曹华最想去的地方是海南和北京周边的古老村落,然后是中国最壮观的景色——长江和云雾缭绕的三峡。

 

Over the decades, Li survived from the famines in the late 1950s. Now, as she and hundreds of other seniors danced, played cards and chatted in the winding walkways of Beijing's Temple of Heaven, Li said it was her time to play.

过去几十年中,李曹华从上世纪50年代末的饥荒中幸存下来。现在,李曹华和数百名老年人经常在北京天坛公园跳舞、打牌和聊天。她说,是该玩玩的时候了。

 

"We are fortunate in China that we can travel, and I've seen so much," the 60-year-old woman said. "We're all traveling now to a lot of places."

李曹华说:"在中国,我们很幸运,我们可以旅游,我们去过许多地方。"

 

Travel agencies and packages catering to elderly Chinese say business is booming amid overall growth in the country's travel industry. The number of senior tourists in China jumped 58 percent last year compared to 2013, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper, and 62 percent of Chinese senior citizens join organized tours.

为中国老年人提供服务的旅行社称,在中国旅游业发展的大背景下,老年人旅游市场也在迅速扩大。据《中国日报》报道,去年中国老年游客人数同比飙升了58%,其中62%的老年人选择跟团旅游。

 

One such tour ended tragically recently when a river cruiser carrying more than 450 people, mostly elderly tourists, capsized in a heavy storm in the Yangtze. More than 430 have been confirmed dead, making the capsizing the deadliest maritime tragedy to hit China.

6月1日晚间,就有一个这样的老年人旅游团遭遇了不幸。一艘载有450余人(其中大多数是老年人)的客轮途中遭遇风暴,在长江中倾覆。截至6日,已有近400人被确认死亡。这是中国约70年来死亡人数最多的沉船悲剧。

 

There are many versions of senior-friendly trips designed for various income groups, with some low-cost options charging 3,000 yuan, or about $480, for five days on Hainan island, not including airfare, said Beijing travel agent Qi Chun Guan. For Yangtze River travel, most groups fly into the metropolis of Chongqing and then travel downstream to the city of Yichang, Qi said.

旅行社工作人员齐春冠(音)说,目前有许多为不同收入阶层的老年人设计的旅游线路,例如有的低价海南5日游,团费(不包括机票)只要3000元。以长江为主题的线路,大多数旅游团是先乘飞机到重庆,再乘船前往宜昌。

 

"Before, the elderly saved all their money," Qi said. "Now, they want to go out and see the rest of the world. These people have seen their share of suffering in their lives. Now, with economic development, it's so different from previous generations."

齐春冠说:"以前,老年人把所有的钱都存起来。现在,他们想走出去,看看外面的世界。这些人过去都受过苦。现在经济发展了,生活与过去大不相同了。"

 

The boom in travel has been one economic bright spot to a graying population that's presenting China with one of its most serious policy challenges.

老年人旅游市场的繁荣成为中国的一个经济亮点。目前,人口老龄化是中国最严峻的政策挑战之一。

 

With U.N. data showing the number of Chinese over age 65 projected to almost double to 210 million people by 2030, the country's retirement system will struggle to keep up, especially as China's one-child policy limits the number of working-age people who can pay for the pensions and meager benefits of their elders, said Yong Cai, an assistant sociology professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

美国北卡罗来纳大学教堂山分校的社会学副教授蔡勇说,根据联合国的数据,到2030年,中国65岁以上的人口将达到2.1亿。中国的退休制度将面临严峻挑战,特别是中国的独生子女政策限制了能够为老年人提供养老金和其他福利的"劳动年龄人口"。

 

"It's very clear that the next 10 to 15 years down the road will not be so good for the pension system," Yong said. "Xi Jinping has been saying China has to deal with the new economic reality, and part of this is a new demographic reality."

蔡勇说:"显而易见,未来10到15年,养老金制度的前景并不乐观。中国必须面对新的经济现实,而新的人口现实就是其中的一部分。"

 

For middle-class seniors, however, comes strength in numbers, Qi said. Elderly women known as "dancing grannies" fill the parks of many cities with their music and dance routines. Enormous groups of seniors are also regular sights at Chinese tourist attractions such as Beijing's Forbidden City.

但齐春冠说,对中产阶级的老年人来说,数量带来力量。在中国许多城市的公园里,随处都能看到"广场舞大妈";在故宫等旅游景点,也总能看到庞大的老年人旅游团。

 

Among the most popular domestic destinations for elderly Chinese are the southeastern coastal province of Fujian and central Sichuan province, where the Eastern Star cruise ship was headed when it overturned, Qi said.

齐春冠说,最受中国老年人欢迎的国内旅游目的地包括福建省和四川省。

 

One 55-year-old property manager, who would only identify himself by his family name of Shu, said he took two-day trips to towns around Beijing with other older Chinese, paying 600 yuan for each excursion. He strolled along the Temple of Heaven's historic covered walkway, protected from the rain and taking in the fresh air, part of what he said was his semi-retired morning routine. "If you have the money, you go out and play," Shu said. "I've learned to like it."

一名55岁姓舒(音)的房地产经理说,最近,他和其他老年人一起,每人花费600元在北京周边的村落进行了一次两日游。他说,这就是他半退休日常生活的一部分。他说:"如果你有钱,就出去玩玩。我已经喜欢上这种生活。"

2016-06-24

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