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"Red" Tours Retrace Steps of Long March

Tours to sites associated with the Long March, an epic journey undertaken by the Red Army in 1934-35, are being promoted in an effort to bring money to poor areas.


Travelers can now follow in the revolutionaries' footsteps in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, one of the main regions that the march passed through, on a "Red" tour promoted by the local government.


Travel agencies will also soon develop further tour itineraries.


Tourists will be able to cross snow-capped mountains and plod through grassy swamps, just as the Red Army men did 70 years ago.


Travelers will be able to branch off from the Long March route to visit the old residence of Deng Xiaoping, China's late paramount leader, and places associated with other prominent former leaders like Zhu De, Nie Rongzhen and Liu Bocheng.


Organized by the National Tourism Administration and the Sichuan provincial government, publicity activities for the "Red" tours will be held at the Great Hall of the People from March 15, it was announced yesterday.


According to Gu Zhaoxi, vice-director of the National Tourism Administration, "Red" tours will be introduced to people in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions in May, and to foreigners in the future.


"During the Long March, the Red Army covered 7,500 kilometers in Sichuan and lasted for one year and eight months," Wang Huaichen, vice-governor of the Sichuan, said yesterday.


"Many famous campaigns and important events during the Long March took place in Sichuan," he said.


Wang pointed out that one purpose in promoting "Red" tours in Sichuan was to enrich revolutionary base areas, some of which are poor.


The vice-governor gave Guang'an, the hometown of Deng Xiaoping, as an example.


The city received 5.4 million visitors last year, an annual increase of 120 per cent.


Tourism income in Guang'an reached 1.7 billion yuan (US$210 million), 67 per cent up on 2003.


The number of tourists visiting former revolutionary sites will witness an annual increase of 18 per cent between 2005 and 2010, it is hoped.



(China Daily March 4, 2005)


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