An increasing number of Chinese are traveling wherever the road leads.
With growing demand for recreational vehicles in China and consumers’ shifting travel preferences, experts expect a surge in RV-related business across the country.
“More people are choosing to explore the countryside and hit the roads with recreational vehicle—a home on wheels,” Li Xiang, a professor of tourism at Beijing Union University, told China Daily.
Beijing has seen campsites for RV enthusiasts popping up on its outskirts in recent years, including in suburbs like Fangshan, Huairou, Changping, Yanqing, and Tongzhou.
According to the Beijing Tourism Development Committee, the suburbs are competing to become Beijing’s leading RV-friendly places.
Xu Jielin, a resident in Beijing, said he has always wanted to have a family vacation in a recreational vehicle, but the cost and maintenance of a mobile home has held him back.
“Compared with purchasing a mobile home or trailer, it’s easier to rent an RV at a campsite near Beijing,” Xu told China Daily.
Xu has registered for the 80th International Federation of Camping Club’s massive caravan rally, which is to be held in Beijing starting May 30.
The club has been around since 1932, but this will be its first rally in China.
“I’d love to gain some experience on some short trips,” he said.
Li said the upcoming rally will give a big boost to the country’s RV industry.
“Many Western RV manufacturers are already targeting the Chinese market.”
According to Li, a shortage of RV campsites in China once held back development of this type of recreation.
“Cities nationwide have been coming up with more campsites in recent years, but few of them are close to each other, which has made it difficult for RVers to refill water, recharge electricity, and hygienically deal with the waste and sanitation.”
Li suggested that the government come up with a series of campsites in city clusters—for example to set up several campsites in the Beijing-Tiajin region, so that residents of all three areas can hit the road in their mobile home during vacation, without worrying about being stranded without electrical power or water, or having nowhere to dispose of waste.
Gas stations along the highways could add facilities to serve the need, she said.
As the public gets familiar with this mode of travel, more people will be drawn to it.
The potential for the Chinese RV camping market is immense.
“The future of China’s recreational vehicle industry is bright, and no one wants to miss out on a slice of the cake,” he told China Daily.
In Japan, RV campsites are usually combined with nearby entertainment facilities such as mineral springs, fishing sites, museums, and fairs, he said.
Weng suggested that Beijing should come up with several RV campsites with different themes on the outskirts of the city.
“The campsites don’t have to be large in size, but each should feature in a different theme to enable residents to drive to whichever they like best over the weekend,” he said.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.