Festival in Shaanxi promotes elderly healthcare tourism

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A festival for the elderly was held on Sep 9 in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, to promote "eldercare travel", a term that covers the two traditional industries of elderly healthcare and travel.

This emerging industry is largely influenced by the ever-changing post-retirement lifestyle, with an increasing number of senior citizens choosing to sojourn in different cities or recreation centers during their life after retirement.

According to the host of the festival, Honghu Shares, the company strives to build the first festival in Shaanxi province specifically centered around senior citizens, and to make every Sep 9 a reminder for the public to raise awareness about care for the elderly.

Experts and professionals from China, Russia, Ecuador, Poland and South Korea spoke at a forum held as a part of the festival, saying that the concept of elderly healthcare tourism could encourage senior citizens to participate in social activities and improve their physical and psychological health.

Yu Xiaodong, director of the National Center for Public Nutrition and Development, said that eldercare is an emerging area of the service industry. Therefore, the development of eldercare travel should put more emphasis on not only the environment of the travel destination, but more importantly the services offered to the elderly.

[Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The festival is in correspondence with the increasingly attention paid to elderly people, as population aging becomes an increasingly more imminent issue for China.

Statistics from a 2015 survey by the National Bureau of Statistics which sampled 1 percent of the national population showed that by 2015 the number of people aged 60 or older was estimated to have reached 220 million — or around 16 percent of the national population.

Meanwhile, elderly people have become an increasingly important consumer group for the travel industry. According to statistics from the China National Committee on Ageing, Chinese senior citizens made a total of about 820 million trips in 2016.

In response to this, the State Council of the People's Republic of China in 2016 published its "Healthy China 2030" strategy, which advocates the integration of healthcare, elderly care and travel to promote innovation in the health industry.

The festival also included a charity gala dedicated to the senior citizens, featuring celebrated singers and actors, such as local Shaanxi singer and provincial public welfare ambassador Ren Jing, who called for more people to join in the cause of improving care for the elderly.

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