China celebrated its first National Tourism day yesterday, May 19, 2011, with various activities and popular tourist sites across China offering free or half-price admissions.
The chosen date is significant because on the same day 398 years ago, Xu Xiake, the “Saint of Travel” in the Ming Dynasty, began documenting his 30-year trip across China in his famous travel book Travel Notes of Xu Xiake.
The theme of the holiday was 读万卷书, 行万里路 (Du wan juan shi, xing wan li lu). “Gain knowledge from thousands of books and accumulate experience by traveling thousands of miles”. In this light and with this holiday, China officials hope to raise more awareness of the importance of travel industry to the country’s economy.
In 2010, domestic trips totaled 2.1 billion and inbound trips grew healthily to 134 million, according to the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA). With these staggering numbers, it seems that the key challenge will be to develop tourism in a sustainable way. According to Wei Jie, a professor from Tsinghua University, tourism is among the least energy-consuming and polluting industries…transferring China’s economy from high resource-consuming to environmental-friendly.
WildChina hopes to work along this mission by continuing to help travelers travel responsibly.