(Yicai Global) Oct. 9 -- There was an unexpected shortage of recreational vehicles for hire in China over the eight-day National Day holiday that ended yesterday, as the luxury caravan industry takes off amid swelling personal wealth and restricted international travel.
Over 2,000 motorhomes were booked two weeks in advance on the country's biggest campervan rental platform, RV2Go, according to the general manager of the app's operator SAIC MAXUS Automotive RV Technology.
"Orders have jumped more than five-fold this year," Yang Songbai told Yicai Global. It is one of the few segments to achieve growth in the tourism sector, which has been badly battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, he added.
"Self-driving tours have become increasingly popular as they are more flexible and safer amid the novel coronavirus," Yang said. Many tourists choose to go on long-distance domestic tours in northwestern and southwestern China because overseas travel has yet to fully resume, he added.
RV orders doubled in June from the same period last year on the RV2Go platform, which, thanks to its affiliation to China’s biggest carmaker SAIC, has rental sites in over 30 cities nationwide and holds more than 60 percent market share.
The growth in popularity has much to do with the Chinese consumer's increased spending power. The average price of motorhome travel is CNY4,000 (USD595.9) per customer. The average family will spend over CNY10,000 (USD1,500) per trip.
The mode of travel appeals to well-to-do middle-aged and elderly people who have the time to travel, to young, wealthy couples with young children as well as to the younger generation looking for unique ways of travel and unusual places to visit.
"The next five years will be a period for rapid development for the campervan industry," Yang said. An entire industrial chain of RV makers, RV sellers as well as RV services such as campsites, clubs and catering is forming as the sector heats up.
China had more than 100,000 registered RVs last year, and the number is rising at around 30 percent a year. Some 1,274 new companies in the luxury caravan business were registered in the first six months of the year, up 17 percent from a year earlier. Sixty-six percent of these firms were formed in the second quarter.
Editors: Tang Shihua, Kim Taylor