Attract China Blog

The allure of RV travel in the U.S for Chinese tourists

June 20, 2017

Chinese tourists are traveling internationally at an astounding rate, due to improvements in airport infrastructure and the easing of government restrictions on travel abroad. An interesting trend that is not widely discussed for the Chinese tourists is the appeal of “self-driving” vacations in the United States which involves renting recreational vehicles for once-in-a-lifetime road trips that include sightseeing in national parks.

What is causing this draw to RV tourism, and what does it mean for car and RV rental companies?

What is fueling RV tourism in the United States?

China is the largest auto manufacturer in the world with over 280 million automobiles registered in 2015. Since RVs are illegal to drive in major Chinese cities, renting a giant motorhome has a unique appeal for Chinese traveling in the United States.

How it all started?

The beginning of this “RV rush” can be traced back to 1999 and the popular romantic comedy “Be There or Be Square” which left a lasting impression on many young Chinese citizens. Now that they are older with financial means, they can fulfill their dreams of embarking on similar adventures by traveling cross-country in the United States. As a result, the popularity of RV tourism has been on the rise and is expected to continue.

What can be done to attract more Chinese tourists?

The flexibility of using an RV to personalize a travel itinerary appeals to many Chinese families, especially those who are interested in learning about American culture at their own pace and in their own unique way. Many Chinese tourists like to have as much freedom as possible when traveling internationally, and self-driving vacations are an ideal way to experience America in a way that many of their friends and family members never will.

To better cater to Chinese road trippers, car and RV rental companies need to tweak operating procedures, including streamlining the rental process so that it is not confusing. Additionally, language related resources are a necessity, and every RV should be equipped with an instructional video in Chinese since many Chinese tourists have never driven a recreational vehicle and require detailed instructions on how to operate a 45 foot-long diesel giant. Similarly, RVs should be equipped with maps and directions that can easily be translated to Chinese.  Also, additions such as rice cookers demonstrate a genuine interest in further catering to this demographic.

Looking ahead

Chinese RV tourism in the United States is still in its infancy, and it has yet to reach its peak, Car and RV rental companies nationwide should take steps to develop new strategies and implement new processes that will appeal to this unique demographic.

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