chapter  8
10 Pages

The growth and structure of drive tourism in China


The rapid development of the Chinese economy has led to a consequent increase in privately owned cars in the 1990s, with ownership initially concentrated among medium-and high-income groups in well-developed regions and provincial capital cities. Geographically, self-drive tourism markets are mainly found in the three most developed districts, namely Pearl River Delta (including Guanghzou and Shenzhen), Yangtze River Delta (including Shanghai, Hangzhou and Nanjing) and Bohai Rim Economic Zone (including Beijing and Tianjing) (Li and Sang 2007). From 2001, a small self-drive tourism market began to develop, especially during public holidays. By 2003, self-drive tourism was reported as a growth segment of the tourism market during the major Golden Week holiday periods (Chen 2004; Xiao 2008; Zhai 2003). Primary travel destinations were scenic spots and holiday resorts around big cities. This rapid growth suggests that selfdrive tourism has significant growth potential for China, although it is still in its initial growth phase and the market is small in relation to the Chinese population.