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Long March footprints in Jiangxi

Reporter: Annelise Nielsen 丨 CCTV.com

10-22-2016 00:23 BJT

Full coverage: 80th Anniversary of the Victory of the Red Army's Long March

The story of the Red Army has inspired generations of writers and artists. It has also inspired the patriotic and the curious to visit the places along the Long March route.

These buildings, though quiet now, were once the scene of a bustling capital. A revolutionary push to create a new Communist China here in Jiangxi Province. This is the place Chairman Mao and the Red Army abandoned before their historic strategic retreat just over 80 years ago, known as the Long March.

Now there’s life in these buildings again, but for a different reason tourists. All part of a multi billion dollar industry in China called Red Tourism.

This well was fabled to have been dug by Mao himself.

At its heart an ancient Chinese proverb. “Remember the water you drink comes from the well your ancestors dug”.

For Jiangxi, its first foray into Red Tourism began in the 1980.

"There were more than 6 million visits to Ruijin in 2015, which generated an income of 2.25 billion yuan. It has increased more than 10 times in the last decade," said Zhong Changjian, deputy director of Ruijin Travel and Development Committee.

Red Tourism in Ruijin

Red Tourism in Ruijin

In Yudu a series of monuments mark the points of pilgrimage.

This monument is the exact spot the Red Army crossed the Yudu River here under the cover of darkness to begin what would be the Long March. It began what was an incredible 2 year journey to the north of China. And one special family down the road has their own way to commemorate this important historical event.”

"I started this restaurant since 2013 and the business has been good. I can meet friends coming from all different places here, and we can also review the old stories here," said Farm Stay wwner Wang Mingjun.

It’s a cause close to Wang Mingjun’s heart, his father joined the Long March. His restaurant’s specialty is plating up the dishes he says were served to the Red Army before their march north.

This family’s been making the same meals in the same way for 3 generations now but it’s so much more than just a legacy for them. For them and many other families in the region it’s been their recipe for financial success. And Jiangxi province in the same way has been hoping to find its own recipe for economic success. Their secret ingredient too will be tourism.

Traditional tourist attractions like Wangshan Housing in regional areas of Jiangxi can be quite niche.

"This filming site has its special culture connotation and attracts a lot of film investors. This has also helped improve the local economy," said Li Xingwen, planner of "Wangshan Housing".

It’s seen popular Chinese drama series Wangshun Housing relocate its filming from Beijing to here with the promise of some local investment into the near future.

But as the province chases greater growth it needs to expand outside its traditional revenue streams. And nothing’s promised a greater opportunity to get a share in China’s 600 billion dollar tourism industry, than Dalian Wanda setting up shop.

The multi-billion dollar corporation launched its mega mall here in Nanchang. Complete with aquarium, movie world and an Amusement Park that in total spans over 2 square kilometers and reportedly draws in 10 million visitors each year.

At its heart a 5D cinema show that takes movie goers on a sky high tour of Jiangxi Province. A powerful, immersive experience that shows viewers Jiangxi's natural beauty. Not only a chance for Entertainment giant Wanda to show off their visually incredible graphic capabilities but a deliberate push to promote the regions tourism offerings like the Pavilion of Prince Teng along the Gan River. And even a masterful plug for their porcelain industry too. It makes for a more sophisticated approach to court those tourism dollars than China’s seen in the past and shows a new determination to lure in international visitors.

But nothing shows how serious Wanda is about Jiangxi’s potential better than its 3.4 billion US dollar investment in its first domestic amusement park. It’s the first shot fired in the war against Disney, a total of 15 parks planned for China. Wanda chief Wang Jianlin confident his amusement park empire can take on Disney's new Shanghai park which opened this year. He has been quoted as saying “one tiger is no match for a pack of wolves”. It’s a major vote of confidence in Jiangxis tourism credentials, that lay the ground work for his empire from here. As well as the chance to make a splash on the international tourism scene. Certainly a cause to celebrate and hopefully a light on the horizon for Jiangxi's economy.

But the biggest light on the horizon for Jiangxi tourism, is its spectacular light show. Every evening as the sky falls black, special light strips installed on 293 buildings along the river bank combine to tell a story. It’s won them the Guinness World record.

More than 80 years ago the Red Army marched from here, a clear vision in mind but an uncertain journey ahead. Now Jiangxi province has its own vision. To become and international Tourism destination. That journey ahead lit by these buildings along the river bank.

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