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Following Xu's footsteps

Foreign tourists pose for a photo on the Bund in Shanghai yesterday, the nation's first "China Tourism Day." The tourism day will fall on May 19 each year, the date when renowned writer Xu Xiake began his famous travel books. Nearly 400 years ago, Xu, dubbed the "Saint of Travel" in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), began his 30 years of travel through the country and penned his masterpiece, "Travel Notes of Xu Xiake," which mapped out a well-defined geography of the country and highlighted its remarkable sights and attractions. Many believe China's decision to mark the day reflects the growing importance of tourism in the country's ongoing economic restructuring and the country expects to become one of the leading tourist destinations around the world within five years.

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