BURST OF PATRIOTISM
China has seen a surge in the number of visitors to ‘red tourism’ sites in recent weeks. Yang Feiyue reports.
The recent military parade and celebration of the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army has boosted interest in “red tourism”. And the number of visitors who have traveled to historical sites has increased across the board, major domestic travel agencies report.
The tourism is related to historical sites and places that record the revolution led by the Communist Party of China from 1921 to 1949.
And those who traveled to such sites in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area rose by 30 percent around Aug 1, according to Lvmama, an online tourist service platform.
Last year, such sites in the country received roughly 1.15 billion visits, up 11.7 percent over the previous year, online travel agency Tuniu reports, and tourism income from such visits was at 306.10 billion yuan ($45.74 billion), up 17.2 percent.
Beijing and Shanghai, and the provinces of Zhejiang, Hunan, Jiangxi, Fujian, Guizhou, Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu are the top 10 destinations for travelers seeking red tourism experience, according to Tuniu.
“Beijing was where several major historic events occurred and houses many such sites, including Tian’anmen Square and former residences of revolutionaries,” says Zhao Huan, the publicity manager with Tuniu. “These places let people reminisce about the past.”
Travel products, combining red tourism elements, hiking and sightseeing are popular in the summer. And the school summer vacation also helps to boost this kind of tourism.
“This is because many parents take their children to such sites,” says Zhao.
Military-themed scenic spots, museums and historical sites also draw parents with children in August, according to Tongcheng Network Technology, an online travel agency in Jiangsu province.
Those between 14 and 35 accounted for 80 percent of all such tourists, according to Tongcheng.
Most such tourism sites feature mountains and water, and allow visitors to enjoy the “red spirit” while avoiding the summer heat.
Meanwhile, 10 red tourism routes connecting Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province were launched by local tourism authorities in early August. And nearly 100 red tourism spots were included for these routes. The routes tap into “red culture”, while focusing on travel experiences along the way.
The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region abounds in such tourism sites and the most popular ones include the Beijing Military Museum, the Lugou Bridge, the Dagu Fort, the Pingjin Campaign Memorial, the Museum of the War of the Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, and the Monument to the People’s Heroes.
The Monument to the People’s Heroes has seen hordes of visitors to the capital over the years. The monument, which sits at the center of Tian’anmen Square, consists of 17,000 pieces of granite and white marble with bas-reliefs displaying eight major revolutionary episodes on the monument’s pedestal.
The bas-reliefs showcase the fight to freedom in the course of the past century.
The former residence of Soong Ching Ling in Beijing is a popular draw.
The former residence, located in Houhai, in Xicheng district, used to be the garden of a royal mansion in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Soong moved into the mansion in 1963 and lived there until she passed away in 1981.
At the former residence, visitors can see a large number of photographs, documents and objects showcasing Soong’s life, especially her participation in political activities.
The Langyashan scenic spot is also a household name as it was the spot where five martyrs fought to their deaths more than 70 years ago.
The scenic spot in Yixian county, Hebei province, is popular with visitors because in addition to commemorating the martyrs, visitors can also enjoy the mountains, karst caves and forests in the area.
Yu Ganqian, the deputy director of the Beijing Commission of Tourism Development, says: “Red tourism is a major highlight in Beijing”, and the capital now has 100 government-accredited scenic spots for this tourism.
Beijing authorities will also arrange for retired PLA soldiers to interact with college students in September as the idea is to teach them about history, says Yu.
Last year, Beijing spent 57.10 million yuan on red tourism development, and parking lots, pedestrian lanes, seating, signboards and eco-toilets were provided at various historical sites.
Contact the writer at yangfeiyue@ chinadaily.com.cn
Top: Lugou Bridge, also known as Marco Polo Bridge on the outskirts of Beijing, is the site of the Lugouqiao Incident (July 1937), which led to full-scale war between China and Japan. Above: Shuangqing Villa, a former imperial garden in the Fragrant Hills Park in Beijing, served as the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in 1949.
A statue of Li Dazhao, a founding member of the Communist Party of China, at a Beijing memorial.