Are elderly tourists now banned from joining group tours to China?!
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : Elderly Tourists Banned From Group Tours In China!
This warning has gone viral on WhatsApp, and social media platforms, claiming that elderly tourists are now banned from group tours in China!
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Truth : Elderly Tourists Are Not Banned From Group Tours In China!
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS circulating on WhatsApp, and social media platforms, and here are there reasons why…
Fact #1 : Viral Message Circulated Since 2019
First, let me just point out that the viral message isn’t new. It has been circulating since March 2019, if not earlier.
Initially, it started in Chinese social media platforms like Weibo and WeChat groups, but eventually made its way to WhatsApp and other social media platforms.
Fact #2 : National Tourism Administration Ceased In 2018
According to a Chinese fact check, the viral message could not have been issued by the National Tourism Administration of China, as it no longer existed in 2019.
As part of institutional reforms announced by the Chinese State Council in March 2018, it was replaced by the Culture and Tourism Administration of the People’s Republic of China Ministry of Tourism.
Fact #3 : Ministry of Culture and Tourism Has No Such Restrictions
A reporter for Jiefang Daily and Shangguan News checked the official website of the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism, but could find no announcement of any restrictions on elderly tourists travelling in group tours.
The reporter also noted that there were no specific restrictions on the “travel age for the elderly” even in previous policy documents.
Fact #4 : Shanghai Tourism Hotline Confirms No Such Restriction
The reporter also called the Shanghai tourism hotline to ask about whether there were new restrictions on elderly tourists planning to join tour groups in China.
The Shanghai tourism staff told the reporter that there is currently no national guidelines that prohibit group tours for those over 80 years old.
They suggested that the requirement that elderly people need to be accompanied by family members and/or have medical certificates may be the “voluntary requirements” of some travel agencies.
In such cases, the staff recommended that elderly tourists should consider some travel agencies in Shanghai that specialise in serving the elderly as they may be more suitable, and may not have such requirements.
Fact #5 : Travel Service Standards For Elderly Do Not Have Age Restrictions
In 2016, China issued its Travel Agency Elderly Tourism Service Standards, which stipulates that if elderly tourists participate in group tours, the travel agency should:
- communicate and negotiate with the insurance company on the upper age limit for travel accident insurance,
- collect detailed information of the elderly tourists,
- ask elderly tourists who are over 75 years old to be accompanies by adult family members, or ask their immediate family members to sign off on their travel,
- discuss the potential risks of senior tourism products and the health requirements of senior tourists before traveling, and
- provide oral safety reminders and produce a “Safety Notice” to ensure that elderly tourists choose appropriate senior tourism products.
However, the 2016 Travel Agency Elderly Tourism Service Standards do not restrict elderly tourists of any age from travelling in group tours.
Fact #6 : Travel Agencies Refute Claims On Age Limits
The same reporter also reached out to Chinese travel agencies like Ctrip and CYTS on these claims of group tour restrictions on elderly tourists.
The Chinese travel agencies said that there is “no hard and fast age requirement” for seniors travelling in group tours.
They pointed out that different tours have different physical requirements, some of which may require elderly tourists to be accompanied by family members, or produce medical certificates and other documents to assure the travel agencies of their fitness.
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