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China eyes rural tourism to help poverty relief

Xinhua, October 11, 2016 Adjust font size:

hinese Vice Premier Wang Yang on Monday urged more efforts to boost rural tourism as the country strives to increase farmers' incomes and eliminate rural poverty.

During an inspection tour in Laishui County in north China's Hebei Province, Wang described the industry as a major means to develop impoverished areas.

"As urbanization process advances, the beautiful scenery in the countryside has increasingly become a scarce resource that can provide a huge space for tourism," Wang said.

Companies will be encouraged to create new business models, and the government will allow farmers to pledge their land management rights to raise funds for tourism businesses, Wang said. He also stressed the protection of the rural environment and culture.

Rural tourism is burgeoning in China as more urbanites prefer to get a taste of rural life during holidays.

Last year, 2.2 billion trips were made to the countryside by urban tourists, and the revenue from rural tourism totaled 440 billion yuan (around 65 billion U.S. dollars), according to the Ministry of Agriculture. The booming sector has created jobs for 6.3 million rural people.