Tourism festival commemorates Chinese explorer
In commemoration of Chinese explorer Xu Xiake (1587-1641), an annual tourism event kicks off in Ningbo, Zhejiang province on May 19, China Tourism Day.
On May 19, 1613, Xu set out from Ningbo's Ninghai county and started his over-30-year journey around China. His travel notes introduce a wide range of Chinese topography, scenic areas and geography. Xu is thus regarded as the Chinese Marco Polo.
In 2000, Ninghai county suggested designating the day Xu embarked his journey, May 19, as China Tourism Day. In 2002, the county hosted a tourism event named after Xu - the Xu Xiake Tourism Festival, which has been held annually over the past two decades.
In 2010, the State Council, China's Cabinet, designated May 19 as China Tourism Day to commemorate Xu's adventurous spirit.
In celebration of the 19th Asian Games, which is scheduled to open in September in Hangzhou, this year's Xu Xiake Tourism Festival revolves around sports and will include 18 activities.
At the opening ceremony, 10 Asian Games travel routes were launched by the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism and Zhejiang Provincial Bureau of Sports, and 10 individuals and teams were awarded the title of "China's contemporary Xu Xiake".
After the ceremony, more than 2,000 performers from around the country attended a parade performance, depicting villagers seeing Xu off on his adventure 410 years ago.
A parade performance is held at the Xu Xiake Tourism Festival in Ninghai county, Ningbo on May 19 in honor of Chinese explorer Xu Xiake. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]