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Australia: Chinese tourists look beyond the package tour and hit the road
Intrepid Chinese tourists are eschewing the traditional package tour and hitting the bitumen, according to figures showing a sharp rise in those opting for a caravan or camping trip around Australia.
Data by Tourism Research Australia shows a 112 per cent growth in Chinese caravan or camping visitor nights in the year to September 2017, as more opt to organise their own travel.
While the total number of Chinese caravanners and campers remains small compared to traditional European markets, industry observers say more Chinese are seeking cheaper self-drive holidays as the Chinese economy slows and people feel less wealthy.
Visitor arrivals from China grew by 12 per cent in the period, to 1.2 million people. But total Chinese tourist spending fell 4 per cent to $3.1 billion, which was attributed to a 10 per cent decline in group tour visitors.
Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont said Chinese tourists, especially the youth, were becoming more confident to travel independently and aware of the sights Australia had to offer.
"They are looking for some quintessential Australian experiences, ones that are genuine and authentic," he said.
"Caravanning and camping offers that. As they become more confident and look to travel outside the gateway ports [of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane] that they traditionally visit."
The growth in Chinese caravanners and campers represents a total 103,000 visitor nights, and almost 11,500 visitors – a 45 per cent jump on the previous year.
  Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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