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China Daily Global / 2021-06 / 10 / Page014

Family camping trips offer more choice, value and memories

China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-06-10 00:00

BEIJING-With music floating in the air, families barbecue beside their tents at a campsite in suburban Beijing. The children, who have spent the day playing outdoors, help their parents with dinner by passing them food to place on the grill.

For many Chinese parents, this type of getaway has become increasingly popular. It is a chance to break free from urban responsibilities and get close to nature with their children.

A report released by online travel agency Group last week showed that the expenditure on trips by Chinese families in the first half of 2021 has increased by 41 percent from the same period last year, with a surge in camping and outdoor activities.

Many parents consider camping to be a great opportunity for children to experience the outdoors and develop skills, curiosity and courage.

Zhao Yihong, a mother in Beijing, says her son still recalls their trip to Guangzhou Chimelong Safari Park in Guangdong province two years ago, when they camped in a tent outside the glasshouse of pandas.

"He was deeply impressed," Zhao says. "Being able to sleep and wake up watching the pandas developed his love of animals."

An Na, another Beijing parent, says that, during her family's first camping trip, her son helped keep the tent in place and comforted other children who were scared during an unexpected storm.

"The experience helped me know my child better and developed his skills as well," she says.

For Xiang Yan, a Beijing citizen, camping allows for more freedom and is more slow-paced compared with other types of family trip. He took a camping holiday in early May and is already planning a second one.

"Many young parents also consider camping a break for themselves," he says.

Sun Jiandong, founder of vacation service provider Sunshine Travel, echoes that view. "The COVID-19 pandemic has redirected young people's attention to themselves and sparked a demand to return home and to nature," he says.

The trend is more apparent in larger cities. According to statistics, family bookings for camping in and around Shanghai increased by 206 percent in the first half of this year, compared with the same period in 2019, while the number of campsites around first- and second-tier cities account for over half of those in the whole country.

Wei Linfeng, head of Shanghai Bay Fangche Camping, says the volume of tourists at his campsite during the three-day May Day holiday this year accounted for more than 30 percent of the annual total of previous years.

Zhang Zhining, deputy director of's research institute, believes that the increasing popularity of family camping trips means future tourism will focus more on quality.

Many guesthouse operators in Beijing, Shanghai and Sichuan province are joining the camping market, offering diverse experiences such as campfires, outdoor cinemas and archery camps.

"Young parents need more chances to communicate and interact with their children, or among themselves, through high-quality trips. It presents a huge demand," Zhang says.


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