Tourism booms in President Xi’s former home

By Kou Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2015-10-8 0:13:01

A village in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province where President Xi Jinping once lived hosted more than 3,000 tourists a day during the National Day holiday from October 1-7, reports said Wednesday.

Liangjiahe, nestled on the hills in Yan'an, attracted about 100,000 tourists annually in recent years, mainly because Xi spent seven years of his youth in the village, according to Shi Yuxing, an employee at the village history museum.

Xi was sent to Liangjiahe in 1969 along with many urban youths as part of the nationwide "Down to the Countryside Movement" during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Xi joined the Party in 1974 and returned to Liangjiahe prior to the Spring Festival in 2015, which proved a boon to tourism in the village, reported the China News Service.

Li Mingde, vice president of the Beijing Tourism Society, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the village has seen a rise in tourism because people are curious about the place where the country's leader grew up.

"They also want to know how the lives of villagers have changed," Li added.

Liang Yuming, the villager who convinced Xi to join the Party, offers a "president's combo" for tourists. The meal - stewed mutton and other traditional Shaanxi snacks - costs 860 yuan ($135).

"We can sell about 20 sets of the combo every day," Liang said.

This is not the first time that places linked to Xi have attracted tourists. 

After Xi's first State visit to the Maldives in September 2014, Chinese travel agencies also promoted trips that included the same hotel where the president stayed, the Beijing-based newspaper The Mirror reported.

China began to experience a growing popularity in "red tourism" in 2011, which marked the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Many people want to "feel" China's history and raise their level of awareness by visiting the former revolutionary sites, including Yan'an and Zunyi in Southwest China's Guizhou Province, the People's Daily reported in 2011.

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