China’s National Tourism Day and ancient travel writer Xu Xiake

China’s National Tourism Day falls on May 19 every year starting the year of 2011. The date was chosen to commemorate the day when China’s ancient travel book writer Xu Xiake (1587-1641) began writing his masterpiece “Travel Notes of Xu Xiake”.

About 400 years ago, Xu Xiake, a famous traveler and geographer in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), wrote the masterpiece “Travel Notes of Xu Xiake” to document every step of his travels around the country.

Xu travelled around China for more than 30 years and he started writing his travel book in Ninghai County, east China’s Zhejiang Province on May 19, 1613. Since 2000, Ninghai has proposed time and again to the central government to set this day as National Tourism Day.


As recorded in the book, the first place Xu traveled to was Tiantai Mountain in Tiantai County, Zhejiang Province, where he wrote about the mountain’s sceneries.

The decision to establish the National Tourism Day on May 19 was made after nearly one million Internet users partook in a poll to determine the exact date.

Lin Guogan, an official of Tiantai County, said that the establishment of a National Tourism Day was not only due to China’s booming tourist market, but also a reflection of Chinese people’s respect for their history and traditional culture.

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