If the number of Chinese tourists is increasing in the world, it also increases within China’s borders. And more and more of them are attracted by an original form of tourism, born in the mid-1980s: “red tourism”!
What is the “Red Tourism”?
“Red Tourism” is a form of tourism where people visit places with a significant history which refers to Chinese communism.
Red tourism is not new in China. There are a lot of « red sites » all around China including Mao Zedong’s birthplace in Shaoshan for example.
The primary goal of this kind of tourism is to boost patriotism and make people support more and more the Chinese Communist Party more. And it works very well as the Chinese are loving this kind of tourism and the number of people who booked this kind of visit increased.
Is it growing?
in 2022 on Ctrip, China’s top travel service platform, ticket purchases for red tourist destinations climbed five times a month over month in June, with local and quick journeys to red tourist destinations being preferred by roughly 88 percent of these travelers. Also, during the summer break, searches for the keyword “red tourism” on Mafengwo, a Chinese social networking site, and travel agency, soared by 300 percent.
Red tourism goes beyond simply enjoying the thrill of traveling and soaking in new sights. It also involves learning about history and becoming motivated by the accounts of those who helped pave the way for the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and strived to improve a lot of the Chinese people.
The visitor market for the 2023 Spring Festival heated up immediately, which is not surprising. According to the Hunan authorities, data from a number of online travel platforms showed that trip demand and excitement greatly surged before the Spring Festival, which in turn raised spending.
Expert Tips: How to attract Chinese travelers?
1. Register an official account on Chinese Socials
2. Create relevant content for your targeted group of visitors:
For example, to attract “Red tourists” focus on communist sites in your country’s content
3. Cooperate with Chinese Travel KOLs
4. Adopt Chinese payments methods
5. Make discounts and promotions
According to the Hunan provincial government, more than 4 million people visited the 925 tourist attractions in Hunan Province in Central China in the first four days of the Spring Festival, an increase of 102.51 percent from the same period last year. This resulted in business revenue of more than 407 million yuan ($60 million).
What are the famous places for “Red Tourism” in China?
You An (雅安) is the place that attracts the most tourists nowadays. It is considered the birthplace of the revolution and it’s the place where Mao has his wartime base.
Jinggang Mountain, the place where the Red Army was founded and Zunyi where Mao was elected are also very popular.
But you can find others places where you can assist with astonishing activities.
A surprising show at Wuxiang, in the Shanxi province.
In Wuxiang, a very well-known place for “Red Tourism”, every day, actors are playing scenes from the Sino-Japanese war for tourists.
And it’s pretty close to reality as they even manage to make cry some people in the audience as if they were looking at a tearjerker.
As a reminder, the Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict that lasted from 1937 to 1945 and began as a result of the invasion of the eastern part of China by the Japanese Army.
The Sino-Japanese conflict was particularly bloody and had major impacts on China’s history and repercussions on the country’s borders.
Wuxiang Shanxi is becoming popular for this play and many Chinese tourists go there to admire the show.
If you go there you’ll be able to see “a devil” (the name given to the Japanese soldier) jump a 2-meter tall wall with his motorcycle or a bloody crime scene between a Chinese villager and a “devil officer”.
What’s funny is that the audience during some scenes takes part in the show by bombarding plastic bottles and shoes at the Japanese soldiers. And this gives a fairly interactive show very popular among tourists.
Every day the actors play different theater plays. They have to train for many hours per day because the show is very physical.
In addition to the show, the tourists can dress up as soldiers, wear fake rifles, and play with their friends and family. You can even hide in the tranches. That’s very real and the sets are extremely well-made.
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