Self-drive tourism in China
Tourists in many countries have enjoyed the pleasure of self-drive tourism since the invention of the car. Early Australian self-drive tourists included amateur archaeologists visiting Aboriginal sites outside cities in the 1920s, while the advent of motels, mobile homes and caravans made grand tours of the national highways popular from the 1950s onwards (Davidson and Spearritt 2000; du Cros 2002). Countries in Europe have witnessed adventurous tourists in cars seeking unique gourmet experiences in remote villages of France and Italy, thereby ‘discovering’ them for mass tourism (Richards 2007). France also saw the establishment of travel organisations for frequent drive tourists in the 1960s, such as ami des routiers, which combined both dining discounts and vehicle service requirements for members (Daniel 1963). More recent research on self-drive tourism has centred on the creation of a suitable framework of study (Prideaux and Carson 2003), marketing profiling (Taylor and Prideaux 2008) and market development (Cao and Luo 2005), and motivating the role of heritage (Carson et al. 2009) and the role of scenic byways and cultural landscapes (Eby and Molnar 2002; Waitt and Lane 2007). However, very little attention has been given in international tourism research to self-drive tourism in Asian countries on the assumption that most domestic tourists prefer to travel by public transport, in bus tours, and lack the means to do otherwise.