A trip through history - the rise of "red tourism" in China
"Red Tourism" is an emerging tourism market in China that focuses on destinations with historical significance to the foundation of communism in China and the Chinese Communist Party. In addition to being rich in historical significance for China today, the Chinese government in particular has hopes that the rise of Red Tourism will rekindle Chinese people’s appreciation for the country's struggle and help inform the world of China's history.
In Mandarin Chinese, "红色之旅" (hóng sè zhī lǚ) is how Red Tourism is referred to, and in China today, “red” has many symbolic meanings - culturally, it means "good luck" and "auspicious blessing," while politically it stands for the Chinese Communist Party and and the Red Army in particular.
Many of the places of interest for Red Tourism are distributed along the route of China's historic Long March, which covered 50,000 km (31,070 miles) and was the path taken by the Communist Party of China to defeat the Kuomintang during China's civil war over 70 years ago.
One extremely significant Long March hot spot is located in Guizhou province. Guizhou, just east of Sichuan province, is where the Red Army remained for the longest time during the national civil war and was home to the war's longest battlefront.
While many historic Long March "Red Tourism" locations can be found in Guizhou, the town of Zunyi is most noteworthy. Zunyi is the spot where Mao Zedong took over position as chairman of the Communist Party of China during the Long March, during the so-called Zunyi Conference, and today the location is a popular one for Red Tourism visitors.
Deng Xiaoping, China's leader during the period of "Openness and Reform" in the '80s and '90s, which led to today's economic boom in China, was born in Guang'an, Sichuan. Because of his influence and the respect that the Chinese hold for Deng Xiaoping, Guang'an is another popular Red Tourism site, located in southwest China's in Sichuan province.
Political benefits notwithstanding, Red Tourism has been an economic boon to many locals at different historical sites who struggled to make a living as farmers before tourism began to bring outside money to their areas.
"Life here used to be very hard. Now it is so much better," said by one of the locals, "Everyone is getting richer and happier. It is great to see my family so happened and my neighbors doing so well."
Come travel China and see some of China's historical sites along the Long March and elsewhere, which were influential in shaping not on the nation, but the world today!