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A camper's life traveling the open road

By Shi Jing in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-01 16:12

A camper's life traveling the open road

A recreational vehicle on show during an exhibition in Beijing. With rising demand for the vehicles in China, experts expect more of these kinds of event in future. Li Wenming / for China Daily

In the Outline of National Tourism and Leisure (2013-2020), published in February this year, the General Office of the State Council underlined that construction of campsites would receive government support.

At the end of 2012, the local governments of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui and Shanghai signed a Yangtze River Delta region camper travel outline, which detailed five ideal routes for camper travel, with two more now being planned.

The outline also highlighted that a network of 250 camper service stations will be established by the end of 2020 in the regions, by which time there will be 400 to 500 campsites.

"At present, there are more camper users in the northern part of China than in the south," said Wang.

"In the south, people can easily access green open spaces without the need for a camper - there might even be some outside their backdoors.

"But in the north, due to weather conditions, people have fewer chances to enjoy the outdoors," he said, adding that the Yangtze Delta region is particularly enjoyed by camper owners from all over the country.

Sun Jiandong, a 30-year old graduate in tourism administration who has been working in the outdoor sports industry for about seven years, has also witnessed the growth in the camper industry, especially in the Yangtze River Delta region.

He says there are still too few campsites in China and most have poor facilities.

"But I am sure the industry will catch up with other international markets soon. The overseas camper industry has a history of more than 100 years. We cannot seek growth overnight. We have to do it step by step," he said.

As well as more dedicated campsites, Sun says some of the country roads that users like to travel on are very poor.

He added more laws and regulations are needed to ensure safety standards are maintained in the industry, particularly on where campers can drive and park-up.

He would like to see closer scrutiny on the types of modifications being made to campers, clearer restrictions on how many people can travel within a vehicle, and what kind of license is needed to drive different sizes of vehicle, for instance.

And he said that being able to drive a 6-meter vehicle, capable of carrying seven people, using just a C-class driving license, the same as an ordinary sedan, is a problem that needs to be addressed.

"Traditional forms of travel are so tiresome and boring compared to traveling in a camper," said Sun.

"Tourists are so often taken to places, dropped off after long journeys, and that's about it. But travel should not be this way.

"I do hope that with the further development of the camper industry in China, people can really start to see places in a much more relaxed and natural way," he said.

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