Camping concept grows among China travellers

By Kurt Nagl ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-07-18 10:19:02

Chinese people love it, says Clark, and business is much better than back home because of the country's position in the market. "In America, camping has always been about the family experience, but over the years it has become more luxurious," Clark says. "That's what I see in the Chinese market. It's more of a status symbol."

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Despite differences in style, camping in China and other parts of the world stem from the same desire: escape.

"Camping as a form of travel in the US developed out of necessity, due to either a lack of lodging facilities or a lack of affordable lodging facilities," says Dan Wenk, superintendant of Yellowstone National Park in the US.

Similarly, many Chinese seek campsites and mobile homes as refuge from crowded, expensive and often polluted cities. But laws and lack of resources have made travel challenging.

Although China has the second most national parks in the world, according to the National Parks website, it has very few actual campgrounds. However, the government's recent master plan for Chinese tourism aims to develop more sites soon.

Clark said many campers in China often do not even have the ability to get to these sites.

"I think the draw back in China is the lack of roads and the lack of people with the ability to drive," he says. "There are some rules and regulations regarding weights and lengths you don't have in America."

"Chinese law is making it difficult for caravans because not all highways allow them," says Hazewindus, echoing Clark's concerns.

Both agree the next few years will be pivotal for the market as it grows and matures. And they also agree that, be it in a tent or an RV, camping gives people the chance to experience something other than everyday life.

"It's about getting away and experiencing opportunities you don't have in your own backyard and having the freedom to do that," Clark says.


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