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Rural tourism leads fight against poverty in Gansu

China Daily, October 26, 2016 Adjust font size:

Gansu province has made huge inroads into defeating poverty since the national government declared it would eradicate it completely by 2020.

With the majority of people below the poverty line in China coming from the countryside, rural tourism development has been earmarked as an effective way of achieving social and economic development.

As such, authorities in the province have rolled out a slew of initiatives to develop rural tourism, create jobs and increase incomes.

To coincide with the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan in 2016, Gansu developed rural tourism entrepreneurship activities aimed at encouraging local villagers to start small businesses related to tourism.

The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and the China State Council forecast that by 2020, three million tourism businesses will exist in the country and it will receive two billion visitors annually – something Gansu has been quick to capitalize on. A bolstered tourism economy will in turn help lift approximately two million of China’s rural population out of poverty every year. Speaking in February in Gansu Provincial Tourism Work Conference, Xia Hongmin, vice governor of Gansu province, said that tourism had become a “shining point” of the province’s poverty relief work.

The province has also promoted its local tourism businesses by providing officials and owners of farm-stay houses with the necessary skills in tourism services.

The initiatives have paid off, with official statistics revealing that the income from rural tourism accounts for 7 percent of Gansu’s rural per capita income.

One city that has benefited from the rural tourism drive is Jinchang. Its government promoted four new industrial chains in the city to make it a popular location for weddings, rural tourism and flower sightseeing. It established a manufacturing chain for flowers, essential oils, washing products, dye pigments derived from plants and honey.

According to its tourism bureau, more than 2.79 million people visited Jinchang in 2015, marking an increase of 22.63 percent year-on-year and yielding 1.4 billion yuan ($209.86 million) in revenue, 25.07 percent up on the previous year.

In the first half of the 2016, the city received around 1.64 million visitors, generating 823 million yuan in tourism revenue and making a significant contribution to its poverty relief work.