The summer in China has ushered in a fresh set of employment opportunities in the tourism sector, a sign of resilience and adaptability among its youth, especially against a backdrop of heightened unemployment rates. Thanks to the virality and influence of mainland social media, some novel tourism-based job roles have gained immense popularity, offering an innovative way for young people to earn money.
Reports from Chao News highlight two roles in particular that are dominating social media platforms like Douyin and Xiaohongshu. The positions of a personal photographer-companion and a travel photography quality assessor-companion are proving to be especially trendy. Ads showcasing these roles are abundant, with each offering a spectrum of rates and a variety of services. One such advertisement promised potential clients guidance on striking the perfect pose and even promised post-production edits, all for a rate of 25 yuan (US$3.5) per hour.
Interestingly, many of these advertisements originate from university and secondary school students. A 20-year-old student’s ad, for instance, spoke of her willingness to accompany clients on city walks, partake in shared meals, engage in photo sessions, and even go shopping together. The rates for such services have a wide range: from a humble one yuan (14 US cents) to a more premium 100 yuan. Extra services, such as makeup application or photo editing, come with additional costs that range between 10 to 50 yuan.
These new-age photographers do more than just click pictures. Many advertisements talk about their capability to craft photo-tour routes and share intricate details about tourist destinations.
Feifei, a student from Hangzhou city, ventured into this nascent profession on July 20 and has already completed 36 orders within a month. For her, this isn’t just a job; it’s a blend of passion and business. Despite the grueling heat of summer days, she finds joy in earning while honing her social and photography skills. “It’s my hobby and also my own business,” she remarks.
The rise of such roles has spurred vibrant discussions on Chinese social media. While many praise the innovative approach to preserving travel memories, others express hope that the youth will continue to carve out new niches in the job market.
China has recently witnessed a surge in young individuals crafting unique professions. In previous months, a 29-year-old woman shared her journey as an educational excursion instructor, teaching children to derive knowledge from travel. Earlier this year, another woman from southern China gave up a conventional sales job to etch messages in the sand on beaches, which became an overnight sensation.