High-end Chinese travellers, willing to fork out US$500 and up a night per person, are swapping luxury resorts for glamping holidays in tents that come with all amenities at developed sites near Beijing and Shanghai, or in remote locations such as the Gobi Desert.
Industry observers said the trend, which started two years ago due to outbound restrictions and Covid-19 concerns resulting in preferences for outdoor experiences, picked up speed this year.
Travellers are booking with companies such as Nomads Wild and Norden, according to Sam Braybon, director, Bespoke Travel Company. His company has helped to organise a few glamping trips last year, where the typical profile was young, urban professionals in their 30s or 40s.
A number of less expensive options for a weekend getaway, he noted, could be found around Shanghai, with more high-end sites located in Yunnan, Gansu, Sichuan and Tibet.
Braybon commented: “Three-night trips are popular but programmes can be longer to include more activities to include hiking, horseback riding, and stylish dining with local influences in the wild.”
Alexander Glos, CEO, China i2i Group, which provides B2B and B2C tourism-related services, added glamping has been gaining popularity among families with young children as it provided a “different experience from a Sanya resort holiday”.
“Glamping is appealing because locations are isolated but some places have permanent tents and dining areas, like an early Club Med. Some glamping operators are part of hotel groups where some of the sites are in the desert and some are in the mountains, and in winter, offer activities like dog sledging,” he elaborated.
Violet Wang, managing director of Realm, said five glamping projects were being developed close to Shanghai in “natural spaces” and would be ready in two years’ time.
Wang noted: “The glamping trend started in 2020 and people started buying high-end equipment from outdoor lifestyle companies like Snow Peak Company from budgets they would have otherwise spent on an overseas trip.”