Red tourism gets a boost
Chen Gang, a professor from Jinggangshan University, says young people visit historical places linked to the revolution led by the Communist Party of China from 1921 to 1949, hoping to find inspiration to tackle the challenges they face.
The number of tourists visiting sites linked to the revolution led by the Communist Party of China almost tripled in the first half of 2017, as compared with the same period in 2016.
China's red tourism has seen a boom over the years, as more people visit historical places linked to the revolution led by the Communist Party of China from 1921 to 1949.
The number of tourists almost tripled in the first half of 2017, as compared with the same period in 2016, says a report by the domestic online travel agency Lvmama, headquartered in Shanghai.
The sites received roughly 1.15 billion visits in 2016, up 11.7 percent over the previous year, and tourism income from these sites was 306.1 billion yuan ($45.74 billion), up 17.2 percent, according to Tuniu, another major online travel agency based in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of young people are visiting such sites, with those born in the 1980s, the 1990s and the 2000s accounting for almost 50 percent of the traffic, according to Lvmama's report.
Commenting on the trend, Chen Gang, a professor from Jinggangshan University, says young people visit such sites hoping to find inspiration to tackle the challenges they face.
During the recent Spring Festival holiday, the venue of the Zunyi Conference in Guizhou province, where Chairman Mao Zedong regained control of the Party in 1935, saw more than 126,000 visits.
Separately, the hall's curator Chen Song is working to spread word of the site. And he plans to have exhibitions in Tianjin, the Liaoning provincial capital Shenyang, the Guangdong provincial capital Guangzhou and the Sichuan provincial capital Chengdu.
In 2016, more than 19 exhibitions featuring the Long March by the Red Army between 1934 and 1936 and the Zunyi Conference were held in Shanghai, Zhejiang and Fujian provinces, drawing more than 2 million visits.
Speaking about the impact of such promotion events, Wang Yudi, a tour guide for Zunyi site says: "Calls kept coming in to book tours (at the Shanghai event), and every guide has to take four to five groups a day."
Typically, the exhibitions showcase the history of the Long March in Guizhou and the Zunyi Conference, and portray historic scenes through visual and audio channels.
The exhibitions have also made their way to local schools.
And Qu Changgen, a professor from Zhejiang Sci-Tech University's School of Marxism, even took some of his classes at the exhibition sites.
"The Zunyi Conference exhibitions focused on a factual description of the key events, which is more direct and real for students," says Qu.
The Zunyi Conference site is only one among the many popular sites on offer.
The site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Shanghai received 730,000 visits in the first 11 months of 2017, according to the site's curator Zhang Liming. And during the three-day China red tourism expo hosted in November 2017 in Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi province, more than 100,000 people visited the area.
In a related development, the number of red tourism spots now expected to receive more than 100,000 people a year, increased to 118 in 2016, from 82 in 2013.
Travelers have paid more than 5 billion visits to red tourism destinations since 2004, an annual growth rate of 16 percent.
And the authorities are expecting the number of such tourists to cross 1.5 billion annually by 2020.
Many areas across the country are now tapping into their red tourism heritage to draw in visitors.
In Cangxi county in the north of Sichuan province, red tourism has been integrated with other elements to attract more than 2 million visits by travelers annually.
The county, covering an area of 2,330 square kilometers, witnessed more than 100 battles between the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintung, or KMT, over 1933-1935, which gave rise to more than 30 sites there.
A revolutionary martyrs monument, a former shipyard and the Red Army command headquarters are among the highlights in Cangxi.
To date, the county has developed a number of scenic spots, forest parks and natural reserves to draw visitors.
Also, more than 120 farmhouses and 30 rural hotels have been established.
Red tourism is expected to see continuous momentum, as road systems have been planned to connect all such spots, says a plan of the Ministry of Transport.
Infrastructure at the destinations will also be improved across the board, and more protection will be given to historical sites and memorials, says a plan of the National Development and Reform Commission.