Uni study shows big variations in Chinese - Aussie Nomad touring styles

June 24, 2013
Uni study shows big variations in Chinese - Aussie Nomad touring styles

Research by Dr. Mao-Ying Wu Research Officer, E-research Center, James Cook University andDr. Philip L. Pearce Foundation Professor of Tourism, James Cook University makes directcomparisons between Chinese RV tourists in Australia and the mature and more familiar AustralianRV markets (e.g. grey nomads).

The core demographic images of the two groups show notable differences.

The mature Australian RV traveller mostly has one partner. Chinese travel with family, either corefamily or extended family.

While the mature Australian RV travellers cover long distance over an extended period, normallythree months and up to several years, Chinese (in the research sample) travel long distance at anaverage of 18.3 days. A holiday range of 11 to 21 days is most common.

Mature Australian RV travellers avoid travel in peak periods like Christmas easter and schoolholidays. Winter is the most popular travel period. Chinese travel within their holiday systemconcentrating in the Chinese Golden weeks and school holidays, especially their summer holidays inJuly and August.

Mature Australian RV travellers mostly own rather than rent their vehicles. Caravans are the mostpopular choice.

The key difference between the two traveller groups is that the Chinese are not self sufficient. Nordo the want to be they are 'Blue-ribbon' travellers and are interested in the most well know carvanparks and their quality facilities.

The Mature RV market is the direct opposite. A large number of them are self-sufficient,and only need 'basic' or 'basic extras', services during their trip the research by Dr Mao-Ying Wuand Dr. Philip L. Pearce says.

Most Australian RV travellers slow trip over an extended period. Chinese travellers are mostly ona one-way experience. It is intensive driving in a limited time frame.

Mature RV travellers mostly use a mix of full loop and base camp style. They tend to stay in aregion longer and use a caravan park as their base to visit attractions.

Chinese use a mostly 'open jaw' style (fly in and fly out at different capital cities) and a'full loop' style (around a capital city, for example Darwin and Perth), to avoid return driving.

Flexibility of RVs, a feature which has been widely emphasised in the research on the grey nomadsand snowbirds, re-occurs with the Chinese travellers. Here, however, it has special features interms of the control of food and time compared to the constraints of package group travel.

Additionally, the flexibility is also linked to status. A gentleman from Shanghai travelled toAustralian with his extended family commented, The biggest advantage for a motorhome issaving the packing. Travelling with kids and parents, the packing and unpacking work will bea disaster, considering we are changing destinations frequently.

Flexibility, however, was interpreted differently by other informants. For those travelling with apartner, or with their friends, it was more connected to the spontaneous enjoyment, romance and thesurprise valueof seeing unexpected views, encountering others, staying in various places (e.g.beachside, national parks, winery farms, and caravan parks), and fully controlling their itinerary.

An analysis of the push (the internal motives which prompt tourists to travel)factors suggests that novelty plays a big role in Chinese tourists RV decisions. For a highpercentage of them, it was their first RV driving experience. One informant observed,

Im sure that 99.9 percent of Chinese have never seen a motorhome/campervan not to mentiondrive one. Thus, when we visit Australia, motorhome driving is definitely a novelty and an excitingway to have fun.

Typical destinations vary widely between mature Australian TV travellers and Chinese RVTravellers. The Chinese are mostly interested in visiting well knownnatural landscapes; they also enjoy the rural towns that present very different lifestyles. MatureAustralian RV travellers mostly cross states and territories, the visit all levels of sites anddestinations, not necessarily well-known, the James Cook University study shows.

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