China strives to advance rural tourism

Tourists visit a scenic spot in Jiangwan Township, Shangrao, east China’s Jiangxi Province, Oct. 7, 2020. (People’s Daily Online/Hu Dunhuang)

China’s rural tourism embraced rapid development in recent years.

In 2019, over 300,000 entities running agritourism businesses had been established in the country, generating total revenue of 850 billion yuan ($130.28 billion). Last year, rural tourism created 11 million jobs and benefited over eight million rural households.

Rural tourism destinations also saw huge numbers of visitors during this year’s Spring Festival holiday.

To keep the authentic rural features is what many regions trying to do when developing rural tourism. At present, China’s rural tourism sector is becoming more subdivided and characteristic, with higher quality.

Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) noted that it will further optimize the rural tourism industry and build a batch of high-quality projects.

According to Zhou Yezheng, deputy director of MARA’s Department of Rural Industries, 400 villages and townships have been selected for the demonstration of the “one village, one product” project aiming at boosting local industrial development, which will help foster contiguous development. Besides, the country also issued a list to recommend featured rural products and craftsmen, as a way to help rural areas market their featured industries.

Feng Xi, after working in Shanghai for two years, decided to go back to his hometown in Jiuhuashan, east China’s Anhui Province. Helping his parents with his family’s agritainment business at first, Feng sensed the bright prospects of rural tourism, and persuaded his parents to upgrade their facilities and launched online services of customized tours.

“Most of the visitors come here for leisure activities and to spend holidays, so I hope I can offer them more personalized services,” Feng said.

Apart from providing tour services, Feng is also cooperating with a few young people around him to sell local specialties online. During this year’s Spring Festival holiday, they for the first time livestreamed the scenery of Jiuhuashan Mountain.

Envisioning a bright future of rural tourism, more and more young entrepreneurs like Feng are going to the countryside to start their businesses. The new business philosophies and development modes they brought are huge wealth for the country to develop rural tourism.

To attract more high-level professionals in the cultural and tourism sector is an inevitable step for the upgrade of China’s rural tourism. Huang Xihua, a deputy to the National People’s Congress and general manager of Guangdong Provincial Tourism Holdings Co., Ltd., proposed that the country establish an institution of higher learning of rural revitalization to cultivate more professionals for rural tourism.