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How glamping became China’s biggest travel trend

How glamping became China’s biggest travel trend

HANGZHOU, June 28, 2020 -- Aerial photo taken on June 27, 2020 shows a glamping resort on top of Yongan Mountain in Chang'an Township of Fuyang District, Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province. Township-level governments in Fuyang District have worked in collaboration to maximize the Huyuan River's ecological resources and promote local ecotourism. (Photo by Xu Yu/Xinhua via Getty)

“Every grassland is protected with tents during weekends,” says 26-calendar year-aged glamping fanatic Yoga Song.

Glamping, a fusion of the phrases “glamor” and “camping,” is the newest vacation fad amongst young Chinese.

Around the past calendar year, Tune suggests she has taken a lot more than 10 glamping visits in China, to the two rural regions and metropolis suburbs.

She embarked on her 1st glamping vacation in April of 2021, heading for Zhongwei, a town referred to as the “eastern Morocco.”

Located in the mostly deserted Ningxia Hui Autonomous Location of northern China, Zhongwei is property to the Yellow River, parts of the Wonderful Wall, deserts, wetlands and ancient villages.

When she went, the town was by now dotted with boutique inns and homestays. But Song opted to consider a little something various: a tent.

When Track arrived, she claims there have been 5 tents positioned just 10 meters absent from the roaring Yellow River, with sights of the Gobi Desert — the world’s sixth-biggest — on the other facet.

But it failed to go smoothly. The climate was quite windy in Zhongwei, sending sand and gravel traveling. As a end result, all the tourist spots were being shut.

“That evening, persons working the glamping web page called us out to look at the stars,” she recollects. “When I stepped out of the tent, all the clouds that included the sky eventually dispersed. The sky was extensive, crammed with starlight — all the stars I can ever envision, and the silence was consummate.”

With the hustle and bustle of city existence still left behind, travelers are exposed to an genuine, present-day northwest China. Music says glamping here, surrounded by farms and pastures, features travelers a prospect to sow, harvest and flavor regionally-grown dates and wine grapes. Goats, yaks and sheep come by the tents from time to time

Convenience over character

In the world’s most populous place, time in nature can signify powerful mountain hikes and desert treks or mild picnics on the grassy lawn of a park and stress-free drives to the outskirts of a metropolis.

Nevertheless while youthful urbanites crave fresh air and nature, a lot of are unwilling to give up creature comforts like smooth mattresses.

Xiaohongshu, the country’s foremost life-style site, is a important concealed hand driving the vacation trend as chic tenting-influenced posts flood into mobile feeds.

For many youthful Chinese, glamping is just the right activity for their daka lists — a buzzword that describes net consumers “clocking in” at Instagrammable places.

Thousands of in-depth lists of glamping items, recipes for uncomplicated-to-get ready meals and suggestions for glamping destinations throughout the region dominate the Chinese internet.

Song recalls seeing a Marshall speaker and massive, handmade carpets inside her tent in Zhongwei.

Purely natural Camp, the site’s operator, proudly announces on its official Xiaohongshu (a Chinese social media site) account: “We maintain a fantastic decision of outdoor brand names, both domestic and intercontinental ones.”

These consist of mattresses by King Koil — just as probable to be the exact types uncovered in 5-star lodge rooms — and out of doors furnishings from the upscale Nordic brand name Tentipi.

A 1-evening remain expenses all-around 1,000 yuan ($148) for each particular person, Track claims.

The trend isn’t really just taking place in mainland China.

Wade Cheung, internet marketing manager at Saiyuen, a glamping and experience park on an island in Hong Kong, has also found bookings “enhance drastically” more than the earlier two yrs, with extra than 10% of people returning soon after their first remain.

“The lingering pandemic has inspired Hong Kong persons to check out the fantastic household-developed encounters in the town,” says Cheung.

The website, on the island of Cheung Chau, delivers different lodging possibilities, from tepees to Mongolian gers, but the most special is the Sunset Vista, a 300-sq.-foot domed tent established in its have 2,000 sq. ft area with private grassland.

The dome can accommodate 4 people in full, and features a personal shower room and bathroom, barbecue stove, hammock and more,

With a bay window overlooking the ocean and a internet site great for stargazing, Sunset Vista has turn into a hit with Hong Kong bloggers and influencers.

Just one evening in the tent expenditures about $3,500 HKD ($446) to $4,800 HKD ($611), on par with a evening in a luxurious lodge on Hong Kong island.

Company prioritizing comfort and ease about character have dominated the glamping internet site these days.

Cheung states the style of website visitors they acquire has evolved considering the fact that the get started of the pandemic. Prior to, visitors loved tenting, climbing and nature, and would be impressed by the air conditioners in the tents. Now, guests take into consideration AC a must.

“For example, if there is a frog sitting down in front of the tent, the former readers will most likely squat down and acquire a photo with it, but for readers nowadays, it may well develop into some thing that they have to have to adapt to,” he adds.


A Covid-fueled trend


Glamping has been choosing up steam considering that Covid-19 first hit. A report posted by Chinese journey operator CTrip exhibits queries for camping pursuits jumped eightfold in 2021.

Through the Labor Working day vacation in Might of 2022, figures from one more system, Qunar, reveals that ticket revenue of parks that allow tenting in China soared above 50% when compared with the exact interval last year.

Bookings for homestays that present tenting-linked companies this kind of as RVs and tents also quadrupled in the nation all through the holiday break over the exact same period of time last 12 months, according to the trip rental website Tujia

Covid-19 has unquestionably played a function in this newfound enthusiasm for out of doors luxury experiences.

The initial outbreak in 2020 sealed China’s borders, keeping Chinese visitors at property. Latest Covid-19 outbreaks are believed to have reduce domestic vacation by more than fifty percent, and folks are expending vacations even nearer to household, as the probable consequences of vacation have developed from receiving locked out of China to obtaining locked out of one’s residence city.

Doubling down on its controversial “zero-Covid” policy, China has been imposing severe measures which includes lockdowns and recurring rounds of mass testing to stamp out the most recent clusters.

The mega town Shanghai just emerged from a nine-week challenging citywide lockdown which barred all inhabitants from leaving their apartments. In the money Beijing, a three-week-in addition “tender lockdown” has remaining hundreds of thousands of inhabitants getting asked to operate from household.

And there are echoes of preceding epidemics in Hong Kong.

It was nearly two a long time ago, when the SARS outbreak struck the city, that Cheung went on his initial local mountaineering and tenting trips. It was then that he uncovered “Hong Kong is such a fun spot to examine.”

The get in touch with of the wild

Even though Music agrees that glamping’s increase can be attributed to Covid-19 limitations, which led persons to worth options to get in touch with character, she thinks there is anything extra to it. Particularly, the concept of “dwelling wildly.”

“A lot of life that we see on social media are as well glamorous. The coffee tradition in Shanghai, for case in point, is a little bit glamorized. They established a precedent on how we must idealistically appear, communicate and reside.”

But people today are acknowledging these life are lacking one thing, Tune notes. Picnicking, which was well-liked in advance of glamping grew to become the new craze, can no extended fulfill urges to join with character.

Nevertheless she cautiously draws a line between “dwelling wildly” and “living in the wilderness.”

“Some of my pals can just go tenting on any mountain with only a backpack. That is much too hardcore for me to take care of. At minimum, fundamental sanitary benchmarks and dwelling ailments should not be sacrificed,” she says.

The consistent appeal of expending time in the wilderness indicates the glamping trend is very likely in this article to remain, but is envisioned to fall “to a stable degree” soon after journey limitations loosen,” notes Cheung.

Between these going to Saiyuen, all over 60% of them are families, who will “continue to appreciate to acquire their children to a very little island of experience domestically” all through weekends, he provides.