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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

It’s official, China has declared war… on smog. This comes as the World Health Organisation revealed that air pollution in China is killing millions (more than AIDS, diabetes and road injuries combined) and is choking the country’s tourism industry. What’s their solution?

More and more Chinese cities are battling against air pollution that is hurting locals and tourists alike. It’s a health situation that is seriously hurting China’s economy, the tourism sector in particular. Tourists just aren’t interested in visiting China when the images in the news show visitors engulfed in smog, sightseeing with face masks on. It’s just not a positive image. Last week, the United States Embassy air monitor rated Beijing’s air as “hazardous” and recommended people avoid all outdoor activity, which certainly takes sightseeing off the table.

The WHO is pushing the Chinese government to do more for tourists as only three of the 74 Chinese cities met official minimum standards for air quality in 2013, including Beijing, which is the most popular destination in the country for tourism. Their solution?

Sell clean air in a bottle.


Bottled air? Has it really come down to this? It’s all a bit strange and quite shocking! In other news, it seems that Chinese tourism agencies are trying to turn the situation around by offering travellers “pollution insurance.” Ping An Insurance was offering financial compensation for tourists that face 2 consecutive days of peak pollution levels. Other agencies also offered compensation for “air pollution-related lung cancer and respiratory ailments. ”

It only took a few days however for the Chinese government to crack down on these and prohibit anything of the sorts, at least according to the “People’s Daily.”

Are you wondering which three cities did pass the air quality test?

Haikou, Zhoushan and Lhasa. If you’ve had your heart set on a Chinese adventure, your best bet would be cheap flights to Lhasa to explore the country’s Himalayan region.

Imgs: McKay Savage,  plusgood / Flickr cc.

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