Looking for the next big thing to sell in travel? An emerging trend that has millions of followers seeking freedom from pandemic-forced lockdown?
Try camping, or more accurately glamping, which the Chinese are embracing in big numbers.
The question is: As China starts to release the chains on overseas travel, will destinations in South-east Asia be ready for China’s happy campers?
Will they have the great outdoor camping spaces that will allow Chinese travellers – led by younger females – to pitch their tents in friendly surroundings?
Demand for camping is soaring in China. During the recent Dragon Boat Festival, reservations for one Shanghai camping resort on the Ctrip platform sold out in less than half a day.
Social media and video marketing tools have brought glamping to a wider audience, according to Hong Kong-based digital marketing agency Alarice. As a short trip close to nature, camping fulfils a “longing for freedom among locked down Chinese citizens”.
“While traditional camping was more about wilderness exploration and beauty of nature, now the middle class is pushing glamping more for their social and consumption needs, where one can enjoy both nature and worldly luxuries,” Alarice adds.
Gen Z and first-tier city groups led by Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Guangzhou are driving the demand for glamping.
Currently the demand is domestic, but having pitched their tents close to home, the next adventure for Chinese travellers is likely to be the great outdoors beyond China.