‘Smog Insurance’: Now Available for Tourists Visiting China

April 16, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. spoil /spɔɪl/ (v.) – to make something not enjoyable or fun
Example: Our car’s damaged engine spoiled our road trip.

2. avail of /əˈveɪl ɒv/ (idiom) – to make use or benefit from something
Example: My family wants to avail of the discounted tickets.

3. compensate /ˈkɒmhttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngpənˌseɪt/ (v.) – to pay someone in order to make up for undesirable things or damage caused
Example: The travel agency will compensate the man who was injured during the tour.

4. inconvenience /ˌɪnhttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngkənˈvinhttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngyəns/ (n.) – a situation filled with trouble or difficulty
Example: The delayed flight caused inconvenience to the passengers.

5. entice /ɛnˈtaɪs/ (v.) – to attract or get the interest of others
Example: The new airfare promo enticed many tourists to go to China.


Read the text below.
China’s largest travel agency Ctrip.com [see-trip dot kom] has partnered with insurance company Ping An and started offering tourists “smog insurance” since March this year.

Smog, a mixture of smoke and fog, has long been China’s problem affecting the country’s tourism. Too much smog spoils the travel experience of a lot of tourists due to flight delays and cancellations. Tourists who are already in an affected area are forced to stay indoors.

The smog insurance can be availed in six cities including popular tourist destinations -  Beijing [BEY-JING], Shanghai [SHANG-hahy], and Xi’an [SHEE-AHN]. The compensation can be claimed only if one has stayed for at least two days in any of the listed cities and if the city’s air pollution level reaches a certain level. The level is different from one city to another.

In Shanghai, for example, people will get compensation if the air pollution index goes beyond 100. Through the China Air Quality Index Pollution weather app, the travel agency and the users can get updates on the smog levels in the country’s major cities.

This insurance, which is mostly targeted for domestic tourists, is sold at a little more than $1 with a claimable compensation of up to $8 per day for the inconvenience.

However, some people are still not enticed with the insurance package – saying that a bad travel experience cannot be fixed by money. A sales representative in Shanghai also argued that the insurance will not directly solve air pollution.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If given an opportunity to travel to China, would you avail of the ‘smog insurance’? Why or why not?
·         Which do you think is more important – increasing tourist visits or resolving air pollution? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Would you consider travelling to places known for pollution problems? Why or why not?
·         What do you think are the factors that travelers should consider when choosing a destination?


April 16, 2014