Hunan authorities have submitted a formal proposal to the National Tourism Administration to designate Mao Zedong's birthday as China Travel Day. The proposal came after the State Council issued a paper last month to fast-track tourism development and requested the establishment of a new national holiday as China Travel Day. A consultation has begun to fix a date. The Hunan Provincial Tourism Bureau proposed to mark Mao's birthday, December 26, in an effort to recall collective memories and feelings for the late chairman, the Hunan Daily reported yesterday. There have been calls around the nation recently to give prominence to Mao's legacy again. His only living grandson, Mao Xinyu, 39, was named a general in the People's Liberation Army in September, the youngest person to hold such a senior rank, despite being an armchair commentator with negligible military experience. Mao died in 1976, and his ideology was radically changed by the capitalist reforms of Deng Xiaoping, starting from 1978. Although Mao's thought is still listed as one of the four cardinal principles of the nation, its historical role has been reassessed. Asked to justify its proposal, the tourism bureau said it was a common practice worldwide to mark great leaders' birthdays as national holidays. Mao's birthday, December 26, sounds like 'inviting you to travel' in Putonghua, which would help promote tourism, the bureau said. It would help to lure more people to travel during the solar New Year because of its proximity to January 1, the bureau said. It also said making Mao's birthday China Travel Day would help attract foreign tourists. The bureau said Mao was a tremendous contributor to China's tourism as he did great things across the country, and the places where he did them became favourite tourist destinations.