On September 5th, Audi officially announced a collaborative project with Ctrip: A Trip to ‘Mars’ on China’s ‘Golden Week Holiday’. During the trip, participants will take an Audi Q7 SUV deep into the Tsaidam Basin (Qinghai Province), a region known as “the most Martian place on Earth” for its topography. There, they will live in RVs in a glamping site and enjoy modern amenities while admiring the alien landscape of the desert.
A Glamorous and Luxurious Experience in the Tsaidam Basin
The first of China’s two week-long ‘Golden Week Holiday‘, the National Day holiday week, is just around the corner. To this end, Audi on September 5 announced their collaborative program with Ctrip: “If you are tired of those crowded and ordinary tourist spots, let’s head to Mars for a holiday instead” (十一不想人从众 就去火星度个假). The project will take participants to the Tsaidam Basin, which is famous for its Mars-like scenery. The trip is tailored by Ctrip’s high end luxury travel brand, HHtravel (鸿浩逸游), and sponsored by Audi with Q7 SUVs as travel vehicles.
Despite its stunning Martian scenery, the Tsaidam Basin is not usually considered as a top tourist destination because of its location in China’s underdeveloped northwest area, and harsh natural conditions. However, the joint program between Audi and Ctrip makes a difference. It offers not only a premium Audi SUV as transport, but also a cozy trip routine including a stop at an RV resort and afternoon tea. Visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy comfortable modern facilities in isolated areas, while looking up at the night sky and enjoying the spotless Milky Way.
Let’s go Glamping: Enjoy nature without sacrificing the convenience and comforts of modern technology
Combining modern conveniences with pristine nature, projects like Audi’s “A Trip to Mars” are becoming popular in China. This new form of travel is known as Glamping, a portmanteau word of ‘glamorous’ and ‘camping’. Unlike traditional camping, for which travelers must make all the necessary yet tedious preparations themselves, Glamping provides visitors with quality amenities and even resort-like accommodation, all the while preserving the natural feel of a campsite.
The ways a trip-goer may choose to “glamp” is also unlimited. Glamping veterans have solid communities and may occasionally organize events together from scratch, while novices are more inclined to stay at preordained glamping hotels and campsites, or join projects like The Trip to ‘Mars’. The Life Week regards 2020 as the first year of glamping in China, and points out that younger audiences from first-and second-tier cities have become the main force behind the glamping market; The 2020 Big Data Report on Domestic Tourism also suggests that leading consumer groups in the travel market have turned their attention to outdoor themed tours, and are inclined to pick distinctive sightseeing places as destinations, making glamping an ideal choice for these travelers. A Martian world in the Tsaidam Basin, secluded log cabins in the forests of Sichuan, tents on the seashore of Shanghai, and towering castles on the mountains of Zhejiang — the rich natural resources of China add unlimited possibilities to glamping, suggesting there is ample room for the market to develop. (Read more about the travel industry in China)
Audi caught the trend. In fact, Audi and Ctrip have launched another Tsaidam Basin tour in June 2021; but this time reducing its price from 32,500 RMB to 19,900 RMB, clearly hoping to reach a larger audience. The thrill of experiencing activities that cannot be found in the city, combined with the allure of getting in touch with nature in a style that is authentic, yet modern and comfortable, serve as the biggest attractions of Audi and Ctrip’s glamping project. The newest and hottest traveling trend in China is to ultimately take the pressure out of travel and allow trip-goers to wholeheartedly ‘enjoy’ the journey itself.
Author: Zhang Xiaorui