China has declared 19 May as its National Tourism Day from 2011 onwards. Marking the increasing importance of the tourism industry to the country, the date has been specifically chosen for its cultural relevance. It was the day that Xu Xiake, a great Chinese traveller, geographer, historian and writer, started to write Travel Notes of Xu Xiake. In this book, Xiake wrote of his various experiences from his 30-years of travel within China, highlighting its sights and attractions.
It was also chosen as it marks the best season for travel in China, since most parts of the country are in mid or late spring. In recent years, major cities along the ‘Xu Xiake travel route’ have established the Xu Xiake Alliance for China’s tourism, which will host various activities marking the National Tourism Day.
To promote the National Tourism Day, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) has revealed plans of soliciting ideas for a logo and slogan, as well as for launching a public campaign. Various events and activities are also planned for this inaugural National Tourism Day, and measures have been taken to ensure that this day is celebrated annually.
The CNTA’s Vice Chairman, Zhu Shanzhong, said that the declaration of the National Tourism Day of China is a testament to the country’s commitment to the development of tourism and its important role in economic growth.
“Creating a National Tourism Day is of great significance. First, it helps raise people’s awareness of tourism and establishes its role in education by improving peoples’ civility and knowledge through travel. Second, it helps promote the fine culture of China. Third, it draws greater attention from society for the development of tourism by forging a better environment for it, by boosting spending on travel and thereby establishing tourism as a strategic pillar of the economy. In this way it drives the development of the tertiary industry sector and facilitates the strategic restructuring of the economy,” said Zhu.
Said Bill Calderwood, interim CEO for the Pacific Asia Travel Association, added; “This is a significant step going forward, for China and its travel and tourism industry. We at PATA note with great interest and enthusiasm the recognition and support that Chinese authorities give to tourism, and the fact that they realise and understand the positive economic impact that tourism has on employment and overall GDP. This is an extremely positive signal being sent by China to both the travel & tourism sector and the world in general, about the importance that China places on the travel and tourism industry.”