MADRID, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- A new route on a Spanish-administered archipelago off the west coast of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean will soon be opened for Chinese travelers in commemoration of late influential writer Sanmao, according to local tourism authorities.
The route, located on the Canary Islands and available from March, is dedicated to Sanmao, a female writer from China's Taiwan region who lived during the latter half of the 20th century. Her literary legacies have been celebrated worldwide until this day.
The announcement was made by Alicia Vanoostende, tourism adviser of La Palma, one of the seven main islands of the archipelago. She was speaking at the ongoing tourism fair FITUR held on the islands Wednesday through Sunday.
Born as Chen Maoping and also known as Echo Chan in the English-speaking world, the writer adopted her pseudonym "Sanmao" from the name of the protagonist of a famous Chinese comic series created by caricaturist Zhang Leping in the 1930s.
Zhang's works tell the story of a young homeless boy in old Shanghai who suffered poverty and starvation against the backdrop of the 1931-45Chinese War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. Sanmao, literally "three hairs," has been perceived as a metaphor for malnutrition.
Writer Sanmao married a Spaniard named Jose Maria Quero Y Ruiz in 1974 and the couple lived on La Palma and Gran Canaria islands between 1976 and 1979. The newly opened tourist route is also aimed at promoting the places in which the couple had lived.
One of Sanmao's most celebrated works is about her love story and adventures with her husband, who died in a diving accident in 1979 in La Palma, where he was later buried.
In 1991, Sanmao hanged herself in a hospital in Taipei after a cancer scare and losing the Hong Kong movie award for her script to the film Red Dust.
Quero Ruiz's grave as well as the couple's residences on both islands are preserved till today and are open to the public. The sites have attracted a growing number of Chinese tourists in recent years, which is why local authorities have decided to design the route.
"At first I was curious because I always saw a lot of Chinese travelers visiting a normal house on our island, (and) many of them left letters in front of the house," Vanoostende told Xinhua.
"I asked them why and they told me that is where Sanmao had lived, a writer who affected their lives deeply," She said. "(Then) I started reading her works. I really liked her ideas of love, traveling and freedom."
Ines Jimenez Martin, counselor of tourism of Gran Canaria, said since "millions of Chinese people know the Canary Islands through Sanmao's book, we want them to be able to relive and experience the life of Sanmao in Gran Canaria."