Rise in County Travel Craze Unleashes Tourism Market Potential

by Alice

The surge in domestic travelers’ penchant for offbeat destinations and unique experiences is driving significant tourism growth in lesser-known areas across the country.

From last year’s barbecue frenzy in Zibo, Shandong province, to this year’s fixation with malatang, a spicy hot pot delicacy in Tianshui, Gansu province, tourists are signaling a profound shift in the domestic tourism landscape.


Millions of travelers flocked to these prefecture-level cities, willing to queue for hours to savor local delicacies.


On social media platforms, travel offerings increasingly emphasize their “distinctiveness,” catering to individuals eager to express their lifestyle choices and uniqueness.


Amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, Wen Yuxiang from Chengdu, Sichuan province, discovered his passion for exploring small cities and county-level destinations off the mainstream radar.

Preferring the tranquility of lesser-known locales over bustling urban attractions, Wen embarked on journeys to the outskirts of Chengdu.

“While travel information about these destinations was often fragmented, I crafted my own itineraries based on available details,” Wen, in his 30s, shared.

His explorations unveiled a wealth of historical architecture and stunning natural landscapes, spanning provinces such as Sichuan, Gansu, Guizhou, Shanxi, and Guangdong.

“Despite occasional disparities between online portrayals and reality, most of my trips have exceeded expectations,” Wen remarked.

These destinations, though small, boast essential amenities like transportation, lodging, and dining options, preserving the authenticity of local cultures and communities—a feature more appealing to Wen than bustling metropolises.

As he shared his travel anecdotes on the Xiaohongshu social media platform, Wen’s following burgeoned from under 200 in 2022 to over 72,000 today.

“I’m gratified that many followers have echoed my sentiments about the destinations I’ve recommended, sharing their own experiences and photos,” Wen expressed proudly.



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