Popularity of Red tourism jumps among Chinese youth
Some 705 unmanned aerial vehicles form a pattern that includes fluttering red ribbons, the Party emblem and "1921-2021" on the evening of April 27, 2021 during a high-altitude light show over Baota Mountain in Yan'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi province, to celebrate International Labor Day and the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. [Photo by Zou Hong/chinadaily.com.cn]
CPC historical heritage sites luring a growing number of young travelers
Red tourism, featuring tours of sites related to the nation's revolutionary history, is now popular among Generation Z, those people born in the late 1990s or early in the 21st century.
The Nanhu Revolutionary Memorial in Jiaxing, East China's Zhejiang province, is a first-class museum, which manages the site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
One of the memorial's highlights popular with young people is the Red Boat team, which consists of many experienced docents, or guides who work at a museum.
Yuan Jing, a researcher at the memorial, said the Red Boat team was set up to approach younger people by recounting revolutionary stories in a way that they can easily understand.
"We come to the place where young people gather," Yuan said. The team so far has brought its elaborately designed courses about the CPC's history to many colleges and universities.
"The Red Boat team staged a sitcom at our university. That was a very novel form and I felt like I was on the Red Boat that year," said Zhang Mengnan, a graduate student of Zhejiang Sci-Tech University.
Bringing the revolutionary past to places outside the memorial is a strategy that many such places have taken forward. The memorial of the First National Congress of the CPC in Shanghai, the former site where the founding fathers of the CPC secretly convened a meeting, is one of them.
The coffee shop belonging to the memorial is now sought after by young consumers living in Shanghai. Having opened in September, it sells coffee related to inspiring revolutionary stories.
"The idea of combining revolutionary past and fashion is fabulous. The coffee I ordered is priced at 19.21 yuan ($2.68). It implies that the public awakening and the founding of the CPC happened in 1921. The photos and revolutionary songs I encounter in the coffee shop instantly transport me back to those glorious revolutionary days," said a local resident surnamed Liu.
Shen Wei, a staff member at the memorial, noted that it has made an innovative attempt to load a container truck with exhibits. The truck will arrive at universities and serve as a mini memorial hall with an LED screen on its body and exhibitions and historical documents inside.
"The exhibition truck recently arrived at Sanming city of Fujian province, and then it will move to universities in Shanghai," Shen said.
Industry experts said Generation Z has become the main customer group of Red tourism, and products featuring immersive experiences and high-tech feel are particularly popular.
Tuniu Corp, a Nanjing-based online travel agency, said among Red tourism products, the three-day tour to the Jinggang Mountains in Jiangxi province, known as one of the cradles of the Chinese revolution, is well-received by young customers.
"During three days, I was deeply touched by the revolutionary spirit. I was dressed like a soldier, had a meal soldiers had, and walked on the road soldiers had traversed. I garnered a deeper understanding of the events that once happened on this land," said a woman surnamed Wu, who did the tour in June.
Ctrip, a major online ticketing service company, said it pays special attention to young people's participation in Red tourism.
During the Shanghai Tourism Festival from Sept 17 to Oct 6, the private route around the city's revolutionary sites launched by Ctrip, which included a one-day visit to the memorial of the First National Congress of the CPC in Shanghai, was highly appreciated by young people.