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Absorbing the sites with seniors

An increasing number of youths are working as tour guides for senior citizens and enjoying every minute of the time they spend traveling with them, writes Zou Shuo

By Zou Shuo | China Daily | Updated: 2023-06-22 15:48
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Tourists take photographs with flowers in the foreground in Yaogujiang village, Majiang county, Guizhou province, on June 3.[Photo by Hu Panxue/For China Daily]

He loves traveling. And he prefers the company of elderly people on tours.

The love for traveling has turned the 23-year-old Cai Bi'an into a vlogger as well. Cai has been posting videos of his travels with senior citizens on different social media platforms, and has attracted almost half a million followers, making a decent amount of money from his internet postings.

In one of his videos about a tour to Beijing, Cai said elderly people are so energetic that they can travel for more than 10 hours a day. They can wake up at 3:30 am, complete their morning routine, watch the flag-raising ceremony at Tian'anmen Square and then be ready to go to the Great Wall.

His fans like his unique style in the videos — a young man being the cynosure of all eyes in a tour group of elderly people.

The videos have attracted advertisers, too. Cai said he is not picky about the advertisers, which include companies making snacks, facial masks, razors, and health products. He has used the money he's earned to open a travel agency for his mother in his hometown in Leshan, Sichuan province.

Cai's first experience of traveling with senior people was in March last year when he traveled to Sanya, Hainan province, with his parents as part of his college graduation tour. The trip was so pleasant and satisfactory that he decided to do it more often. Taking senior citizens on tours has become a profession for Cai now.

"Older people are very talkative and I am an extrovert, so we get along very well," Cai said.

"They are the most carefree age group. You enjoy traveling with them as they have retired and their children have grown up, unlike young people who might need to work online after receiving one phone call from their boss.

"The most interesting part of the travel is me showing the elderly people how to pose for beautiful photographs. You cannot imagine how much elderly women like to take photos of themselves posing against beautiful scenery. Every new place they visit is good enough for them to pose for photos."

Cai represents an increasing number of young people who are willing to accompany senior citizens on domestic tours. They post their experiences on different social media platforms with hashtags such as "Youths taking over senior citizens' tour groups", which have been trending on social media, attracting millions of views.

Some have said traveling with senior citizens' groups has helped them overcome their social anxieties, not least because elderly people are very friendly and talkative.

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