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Chinese roll on wheels to enjoy foreign trips

By ZHU WENQIAN | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-08 07:56

The United States is Chinese tourists' top destination for road trips overseas. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Chinese are increasingly preferring road trips overseas as the preferred way to travel and soak in sights and cultures. The United States remains their top destination with Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco being particularly popular.

The US is followed by New Zealand, Germany, Thailand, and the United Kingdom, in terms of popularity, according to a recent report Tuniu Corp, an online travel agency based in Nanjing.

Besides, the United Arab of Emirates, Belgium and France are growing in popularity as Chinese driving licenses are valid there.

The top five cities where self-driving outbound Chinese tourists come from are Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Beijing. These cities have more than two million car owners, making them more likely to travel in their own vehicles in China and in rented cars abroad.

Currently, there are more than 360 million car drivers in China, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

"The growth of holidays marked by car drives is frequently associated with wealth, freedom, and choice, and a growing middle-class in China," said Alex Yan, COO of Tuniu Corp.

"Meanwhile, we found that Chinese road trippers prefer to stay at nicer hotels, but not motels near the roads. More than 80 percent of the them usually stay at four-star or five-star hotels."

The majority of tourists who prefer self-driving trips are aged between 21 and 40, with those aged between 31 and 40 dominating this group. Most of them are affluent and tend to pursue unique trip experiences. Besides, many of them have young children and road trips fulfil their demand for travel with kids.

Lily Min, 26, an office worker in Beijing, said she and her boyfriend last year traveled to Hawaii, where they rented a red convertible.

"Hawaii is large and it's inconvenient to travel around if you don't rent a car or travel with a group. It feels really cool to drive by ourselves, as we have greater control over our time. And it's not expensive to rent a car-it costs less than $100 per day," she said.

Overseas road trips tend to take longer than an average trip. About half of these trips last year lasted 11 to15 days.

Domestic road trips are also proving to be popular. Among the well-received weekend getaways are Zhuhai and Guangzhou in Guangdong province, and Changzhou in Jiangsu province.

Longer domestic road trips to Tibet, Gansu, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang are also popular among Chinese tourists. About half of the domestic road trips last six to 10 days.

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