The popularity of the adventourous model-photographer Xiao Yun Dou (nicknamed “Dou Dou“) among young people in China is a hint at a major change taking place in China’s travel market.
While their parents craved the opportunity to travel, for many young people in China today, the yearning is for much more: it is for adventure, perhaps, but I believe there is something even more prosaic at work here. There is a growing desire in the collective psyche for escape, and escape that is not as part of a herd on a bus or a plane, but for travel and adventure that is deeply personal.
Group travel still dominates the market, but the numbers of independent travelers – and those looking for something unique and out-of-the-ordinary – are growing. One young Chinese man I spoke to the other day was excited about going to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. He was not excited about the show, the gadgets, or the gambling in the casino in his hotel, but he was excited about the opportunity to hike in Red Rock Canyon, shoot automatic weapons, and take a side trip to Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon.
He is by no means typical, but neither is he unique, and his kind of international travel may define the next generation of sojourners from the mainland, inspired by Dou Dou and her rarified ilk.