In May, tourism chiefs from Russia and China signed a cooperation agreement to develop ten “red tourism” routes in both countries.
Russia is using its Communist past to attract ever-growing numbers of Chinese tourists. The push in what is known as “red tourism” drew nearly 400,000 Chinese to Russia last year.
Russia and China are not only neighbors on the map; the two countries shared similar history in the 20th century, and this fact helps Russia to attract hundreds of thousands of Chinese tourists.
In May in Shaoshan City, birthplace of Mao Zedong, China National Tourism Administration and the Federal Agency for Tourism of Russia have signed a memorandum on cooperation, agreeing to develop ten red tourism routes.
“Red tourism is a complex of historic and military tourist routes, connected with life and activity of the great revolutionary and public figures of both China and the Soviet Union,” said Oleg Safonov, head of Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency.
Svetlana Pyatikhatka, the executive director of the Russian Travel Association says the proposed red tourism routs will begin with four main Russian regions and will be expanded to other cities in the future.
“This is Moscow, St.Petersburg, Tatarstan and Ulyanovsk. Ulyanovsk at the moment is the coordinator of this mega-project. In the future, we hope that other regions of Russia will be included in this project as well, the regions which have destinations for red tourism that are connected to Lenin and our Soviet past,” said Svetlana Pyatikhatka, Russian Travel Association.
The Gorky estate, some 20 kilometers south of Moscow, is a must-see destination for those interested in red tourism. It is where the leader of Russia’s Bolshevik revolution Vladimir Lenin lived from 1918 to his death in 1924.
Last year, Russia saw nearly 400,000 tourists from China—more than from any other country. They spent a total of over 1.2 billion dollars here, as travel to Russia has become more affordable after the devaluation of the Russian currency.
“We have quite a lot of Chinese tourists coming to Gorky. The interest is growing, last year we had about 10,000 tourists from China,” said Igor Konyshev, Gorky Museum Director.
The number of Chinese tourists traveling to Russia is growing every year. Their average age stands at 50 years old and over 80 percent of tourists come to Russia as part of a group. These tourists are the main target of the two states “red tourism” project.
In 2014, Russia also launched a “China Friendly” program aiming to create a comfortable environment for Chinese tourists by providing language support and other perks.