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China has introduced a new guideline covering services, safety and healthcare for senior tourists. The standard, which will take effect on Sept 1, is the first national industry standard to focus on the needs of a specific group. According to the China National Tourism Administration, the standard is designed for tourists over 60 years of age and requires, for example, that transportation and sightseeing schedules should not be too tight, out of health concerns for senior tourists. Sightseeing time should not be scheduled for more than three hours and needs to include breaks for meals, the guideline says, and continuous time on the road should not be longer than two hours. Bus drivers should have at least five years of experience. The offer provided by a travel agency should include all fees generated during the trip, and no extra money should be charged, the guideline says. It also requires the travel agency and tour guide to collect personal information on all senior tourists, including an emergency contact person and information about their health. Tourists over 75 should be accompanied by an adult relative. The tragic Eastern Star cruise ship accident on the Yangtze River last year drew public attention to the fact that the majority of the passengers on board the ship were between 50 and 85 years old. The accident focused attention on the safety of the elderly on sightseeing tours. 

At the end of last year, China had more than 220 million citizens over 60. The number is expected to reach 400 million by 2050. And the older generation's enthusiasm for travel . . . . read more

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