by Xinhua Writer Tian Sulei
BEIJING, Feb. 21 (Xinhuanet) -- China will boost "red tourism," or visits to former revolutionary bases and landmark sites, through 2010 to promote the "national ethos" and "social-economic development" in those areas, according to a national program.
"This is a major project that benefits both the Party, the nation and the people, either in the economic, cultural and the political sense," said an official with the national coordination group on "red tourism", made up of people from ministries of the central government.
The official said "red tourism" will help people to further review the rise of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the nation. There are abundant facts in these sites showing the Party and socialism are the choice of history and the people.
"It will make people, especially the young people, to further consolidate their faith in pursuing the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics and realizing the great rejuvenation of the nation under the leadership of the CPC," he said.
He said the great national ethos that grew out of the fights to win national independence are valuable assets in both the revolutionary war periods and present-day efforts to realize the rejuvenation of the country. Visits to these sites will infuse such elements in the youngsters.
Collective student visits are free of charge and individual student visits are half the normal price, according to the program.
The sites, including Jingangshan, Yan'an, Xibaipo and Taihang Mountains, are mostly poor land-locked areas. The official predicted implementation of the program would speed up social and economic development there.
According to preliminary statistics, more than 150 major "red tourism" sites in 13 provinces and municipalities hosted 20 million visitors in 2004. During the week-long Spring Festival that started on Feb. 9 this year, Yan'an in Shaanxi Province received 110,000 domestic and overseas visitors.
The official estimated the "red tourism" program would bring 20billion yuan (2.41 billion US dollars) worth of benefits to the sites across the country each year, while stimulating the development of construction, commerce, communications and other related sectors there.
The program, launched by the general offices of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council at the end of last year, is designed to be implemented in two phases.
During the first phase, from 2004 to 2007, major efforts are on establishing a preliminary "red tourism" framework based on 100 sites highlighting 30 tourist routes and 12 major zones. Infrastructure in these sites will be further enhanced to realize all-round development of "red tourism," the goal of the second phase, according to the program.
The official said the state will make policies supporting travel agencies to manage "red tourism" routes. Various businesses and social organizations are encouraged to participate in the construction and management of the sites.