From offering ticket discounts to organizing activities, China's cities and provinces are gearing up for the country's first national tourism day.
On National Tourism Day, which falls on Thursday this year, tourists will get half-price tickets for all scenic spots in north China's Shanxi Province, according to the provincial tourism bureau.
In the island province of Hainan, free tickets and discount coupons will be distributed around the island's west coast, and all tourists taking public transportation from Thursday to Saturday will get half-price tickets for the Li and Miao ethnic groups' cultural tourism zone.
Libraries, museums and stadiums in the county of Qionghai will be open to local residents free of charge for one week.
The National Tourism Administration of China (CNTA) announced last month that China's National Tourism Day will be held annually on May 19,starting this year. The date was chosen to commemorate the day when China's ancient travel book writer Xu Xiake began writing his masterpiece "Travel Notes of Xu Xiake" in the Ming Dynasty.
Dozens of tourists in driving clubs started their trip along Xu's route on Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, other activities, like photo exhibitions, will be held in China's scenic spots.
Dai Bin, president of China Tourism Academy, said National Tourism Day was established to revive the public's desire to travel and to promote tourism consumption.
Time, money and government policy are three major factors that can help stimulate public tourism, and government policies like National Tourism Day can speed up the development of China's tourism industry, Dai said.
For safety, tourists will not be allowed to drive private cars onto the Tiantai Mountain, where Xu started his journey about 400 years ago. Instead, the local government has arranged 80 buses and temporary parking lots to receive tourists on that day.


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