Self-drive holidaymakers spend more

Updated: 2015-10-01 09:35

By Wu Yiyao in Shanghai(China Daily)

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Self-drive holidaymakers spend more

A parking lot for self-drive tourists near the Shennongjia Nature Reserve in Hubei province. Provided for China Daily

"If there are any events going on such as art exhibitions, I may stay overnight for a day-tour - I'm pretty flexible," said Zhang, who said he spends an average 1,500 yuan on eating, admission tickets to museums and shows, hotels, road tolls and gas during a typical trip.

The rising demand for self-drive tours has also helped boost sales of Sport Utility Vehicles, said market insiders.

"It is obvious that SUVs are growing in popularity among Chinese car buyers," said Chang Xiawei, the sales manager with a United States-based auto brand in Shanghai.

"SUVs have been replacing sedans as they can carry more people and more equipment, such as tents, fishing rods and barbecue kits.

"They can handle any terrain, too, such as muddy roads in the mountains."

SUVs have accounted for around 30 percent of the growth in private car sales since 2014, according to data from Nomura International (Hong Kong) Ltd.

As a result, there has also been a rise in demand for tourist facilities aimed at self-driving families with children.

In Hangzhou, for instance, several hotels and resorts offer packages that include items such as hiking, fishing, riding and biking, admission tickets to shows and art performances, or lake cruises, as well as all food and board.

"Hotels and resorts are seeing more children staying than ever before. Self-driving makes traveling with children much easier, and these younger travelers nowadays are much more widely exposed to the world than their parents," said Chen Gang, deputy head of Ningbo Tourism Bureau.

"The needs of children are often the most important consideration when families choose their destinations."

The most confident self-drive tourists are also trying to explore the world by car, marking another huge growth opportunity for tour operators.

"We have seen a rising demand for overseas car-rental services, international driving license applications and international car insurance," said Lin Aili, the manager of Shanghai Lijiang Travel Ltd.

"Although less than 1 percent of self-drive tourists are doing their driving overseas, I expect those numbers to surge, as that type of holiday gains popularity among increasingly well-traveled Chinese tourists."


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