Business / Industries

Traveling the highways can fuel growth in vacation sector

By Wang Wen (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-02 10:05

Traveling the highways can fuel growth in vacation sector

On the road in Bomi county, Tibet. Statistics from the local tourism authority showed that more than 15.53 million people visited Tibet last year. [Photo/China Daily]

Motoring vacations are becoming incredibly popular as transport infrastructure is upgraded across China.

More than 3.6 million people recently voted in a poll conducted by International Inc, China's largest Internet travel agency, on their top driving destinations.

Favorite spots included Yangshuo in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Zhangjiajie in Hunan province, southeast areas of Guizhou province and Yixing in Jiangsu province.

Other popular destinations were Weihai in Shandong province, Qinghai province, Dujiangyan in Sichuan province and Mile city in Yunnan province. The list also included Yinchuan in Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

"Driving trips, or vacations, are becoming extremely popular now that more consumers own vehicles," Dai Bin, head of the China Tourism Academy, said.

While figures are scarce on the number of people heading off on driving vacations, data for internal tourism prove this new trend is likely to expand in the next few years.

China's internal tourism sector has shown stable growth during the past few years. According to the China Tourism Academy, about 3.64 billion personal trips were taken last year. This was a rise of 11.6 percent compared to 2013.

Last year, revenue from internal tourism was 3.1 trillion yuan ($500.3 billion), a 16.7 percent increase compared to 2013.

This year, the academy expects the number of personal trips will top 4 billion, while revenue is likely to hit 3.6 trillion yuan.

Self-driving holidays will help boost those figures as more tourists take to the highways.

In the next 10 years, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers forecasts that 1 billion people will own a driving license.

Car sales in the country are booming with more than 85 million private vehicles on the road. To keep up with this rise, new infrastructure projects, such as highways, service areas and garages, have sprung up across China.

"Along with new technologies like navigational aids and mobile communications, this will support the trend in driving vacations," Dai said.

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