During the recently concluded May Day holidays that ran from April 30 to May 4, tents of different colors and shapes were ubiquitous on the beach of Binhai Park in Rongcheng, a coastal city in East China's Shandong Province, creating an appealing spectacle.
"While long-distance travel is not feasible amid the COVID-19 epidemic, camping in parks and on beaches around the city is an excellent choice for vacation," said Pan Mingyue, who was camping on the Binhai Park beach.
The COVID-19 epidemic has forced many to give up long-distance travel plans, but it has seen a rise in short-distance leisure camping, and with the advent of summer, the camping market in China has only seen a boom.
A staff member of a campsite in Tiexi District in Shenyang, capital of Northeast China's Liaoning Province, said that the campsite had been fully reserved on the first day of the holiday.
Camping-related searches increased by 117 percent from the previous month during the May Day holidays while forests and islands were the two most popular campsites, according to a report released by Tongcheng Travel, an online travel services provider.
Camping has offered an opportunity for tourist attractions to recover from the impact of the epidemic. "We launched the 'highway tourism campsite' initiative by highlighting the geographical advantage of being close to the highway exit to attract tourists," said Zhao Yuping, from the Hongyeshiyan tourism area in Zibo City of Shandong Province.
Zhao added that they had some 30 tents on the terrace camping site, and all the tents had been booked before the holiday. People promenaded in the breeze, dined together in the warm sunshine, and slept under the stars, Zhao noted.
Calling camping a new way of life, Gao Liying, a camping enthusiast, said it helps children develop hands-on skills and enhance their environmental awareness while getting close to nature.
China's camping market is expected to continue growing in the coming days. According to a report released by Guangzhou-based research firm iiMedia Research, the scale of China's camping market increased from 7.71 billion yuan ($1.16 billion) in 2014 to 29.9 billion yuan in 2021, and it is expected to grow by 18.6 percent in 2022 to 35.46 billion yuan.
In addition to camping-related products, kites, frisbees, barbecues, bonfires, open-air movies, as well as Recreational Vehicle (RV) trips and other outdoor activities have also become increasingly popular.
The camping industry in China has become one of the indispensable forms of outdoor tourism.
As the country's outdoor recreation tourism grows, camping near urban areas will become increasingly popular, as it has fewer requirements and doesn't need long-distance travel, said Zhang Sining, a researcher with the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences.