Approval of China Tourism Day
2015-May-21 Source: Chinadaily.com.cn
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In April 2011, at a press conference held by CNTA, in accordance with the Official Reply of the State Council on Approving of Setting up "China Tourism Day" (Guo Han [2011] No. 42), May 19 will be "China Tourism Day" from 2011. Deputy Director General Zhu Shanzhong said, setting up "China Tourism Day" marks that China's tourism is entering a new era of better meeting the ever-growing travel demand of the masses.

Zhu said May 19, the opening day of Travel Notes of Xu Xiake, was fixed as "China Tourism Day" closely related to tourism in terms of cultural connotation. Xu Xiake is a great traveler, geographer, historian and litterateur. Travel Notes of Xu Xiake is of far-reaching significance as a geographical masterpiece systematically introducing China's landform and geography and a tourism masterpiece portraying China's landscape resources; it is universally applicable to travel in terms of time. Then the most parts of China will coincide with mid-spring and late spring, a golden season for travel; and a consensus has been reached on this date of "China Tourism Day". The date is acceptable to government departments, NPC representatives, CPPCC members, experts, scholars and ordinary people. In recent years, on a realistic basis, nodal cities in "Xu Xiake Tourism Belt" have established the "China Xiake Tourism Alliance" and carried out various commemorative activities on May 19.

The Basis For Institutionalizing China Tourism Day

It was in Tiantai Mountain that China Tourism Day originated. "On March 31, 1613 (or May 19, 1613, according to the Gregorian calendar), I set out from Ninghai by its west gate in a good mood like anyone else on the road because there was hardly any clouds in the sky, the sun was bright, and the scenery was more excellent than normal thanks to the fine weather," as goes a 24-Chinese-character excerpt from the opening piece of Travel Notes of Xu Xiake , which is a gem in cultural travel literature passed down to the later generations. China Tourism Day is related to Xu Xiake, the great traveler, geographer, historian, and writer from the Ming Dynasty, who wrote Travel Notes of Xu Xiake , which begins with the opening piece "Tiantai Mountain Travel Diary." Xu Xiake spent over 30 years on travel, leaving his footprints in over a half of China and writing a lot of travel notes in the process. During that period, he went to Tiantai Mountain thrice and wrote two travel notes, namely the Tiantai Mountain Travel Diary and A Sequel to the Tiantai Mountain Travel Diary. The first travel note records his tour in the 41th year of the reign of Emperor Wanli of Ming (1613) of Tiantai Mountain, while the second one is about his return twenty years later to the mountain with the aim of exploring its beautiful landscape in greater detail. After revisiting attractions like Huading and Shiliang, he went to Yandang Mountain midway on his planned tour, and upon returning from that mountain, conducted a careful investigation of the attractions in southwestern Tiantai Mountain, an enjoyable experience that he put down in A Sequel to the Tiantai Mountain Travel Diary. Both of the two travel notes were included in Travel Notes of Xu Xiak, his ultimate masterpiece. Tiantai Mountain is among the three places in Travel Notes of Xu Xiake to have a diary written for them twice. One thing to note here is that the Tiantai Mountain Travel Diary was made the opening piece of Travel Notes of Xu Xiake, a testimony to its special significance in the mind of Xu Xiake, the acclaimed great Chinese traveler.

As early as 2000, Ninghai County proposed to make the date of May 9, the opening piece of Travel Notes of Xu Xiake, as "China Tourism Day." "Ningbo City is the first city to put forward the idea of establishing something like China Tourism Day," said Chen Minxian, vice director of Ningbo Municipal Tourism Administration.

From May 19, 2002, to January 2010, Ninghai County held the "China Xu Xiake Travel Festival" for 7 consecutive times. After soliciting proposals for a possible date from around the country, Ninghai County formally applied to China National Tourism Administration for its acceptance of May 19 as the nationally recognized date for the festival.

There were two reasons for choosing that date. First, Xu Xiake, a great traveler, geographer, and writer from the Ming Dynasty, spent 34 years touring famous mountains and great waters, and wrote Travel Notes of Xu Xiake, thus becoming the undisputed greatest traveler of the Chinese people. Second, historical records can prove that it was on May 19 that Xu Xiake set out from Ninghai by its west gate, and that it was on May 19 that the excerpt mentioned: “I set out from Ninghai by its west gate in a good mood like anyone else on the road because there was hardly any clouds in the sky, the sun was bright, and the scenery was more excellent than normal thanks to the fine weather” at the beginning of this article was written.

In 2007 and 2008, representatives from 12 cities in Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangxi, and Yunnan attended a summit on cooperation on the Xu Xiake Travel Belt, and jointly signed the Declaration about Cooperation on the Xu Xiake Travel Belt, jointly calling for May 15 to be named "China Tourism Day."

On March 17, 2008, the Tourism Bureau of Zhejiang Province submitted to China National Tourism Administration the request that May 19 be chosen as "China Tourism Day."

On June 16, 2008, China National Tourism Administration convened in Beijing a meeting on China Tourism Day attended by officials from relevant authorities of Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces and from the Tourism Administration of Ninghai County as well as a group of experts and scholars. Most experts and scholars present at the meeting believed that May 19, which is the date of the opening piece of Travel Notes of Xu Xiake, or the third Sunday in May would be an appropriate date for the proposed "China Tourism Day." According to those experts and scholars, not only does the selection of May 19 as the date of China Tourism Day reflect the high status of Xu Xiake, but it factors in the fact that China is a large country with dramatic climatic differences between its widely divergent extremities, considering May 19 is a suitable time for outings anywhere in China.

On February 12, 2009, Zhejiang Province held a tourism development conference, at which China National Tourism Administration and Zhejiang province entered into a memorandum on setting up a close cooperation mechanism between the two, in which the administration supports the selection of May 19 as the date of China Tourism Day.

On March 30, 2011, it was passed through a resolution at a routine meeting of the State Council that China formally institutionalized China Tourism Day, which falls on May 19. Not only is the date of the opening piece of Travel Notes of Xu Xiake, but it is the time when the annual "China Xu Xiake Travel Festival," held in Ninghai County, kicks off every year. Ninghai County had by then called for the selection of May 19 as "China Tourism Day" for 10 years.

On the morning of March 30, 2011, it was passed in a resolution at the routine meeting of the State Council that May 19 would be the date of "China Tourism Day."

After May 19 was chosen as the date of China Tourism Day, Ninghai County offered free access to all its scenic spots for three consecutive days starting May 18, 2011, to celebrate its selection as a celebrated day. It was also decided that such free access will be offered for the three days, namely from May 18 to 20, every year from then on.

Editor: Yishan
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