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Village welcomes riches by developing tourism

By LIANG KAIYAN |  chinadaily.com.cn |  Updated:2023-01-03

Rural tourism has prevailed as people have chosen to enjoy country life in recent years. To this end, villages and towns across China have been vitalized to be ideal destinations for travelers.

Located on the shores of Changyang Lake, Changyangli is a village in Pingwang town of Suzhou, East China’s Jiangsu province. It is surrounded by fish, rice and silkworm production areas, and is home to farming cultures.

Utilizing such assets, the local government began constructing Changyangli into a rural cultural tourism brand in 2018 in collaboration with local villagers and a third-party company.

The construction work on Changyangli has renovated local villagers’ buildings.

“The initial purpose for us to develop Changyangli is to retain the people. The renovation is made to satisfy villagers’ desire for a good environment while helping increase their income,” said Fan Weihong, Party secretary of the village.

So far, the village has renovated 26 buildings, which were houses bought or rented from local villagers, featuring accommodation, catering and workshops.

“Villagers are encouraged to get a job by joining the tourism business operation and each one can earn a salary of 3,000 to 4,000 yuan ($425 to $567) per month on average,” Fan said.

Chen Shen, a local farmer who has joined to operate a homestay business, said she earns about 2,500 yuan a month.

The village is in demand among young people, Chen said. “At weekends, the guest houses are usually fully booked up. Last summer, a group of college students came and stayed here for two months.”

To help increase locals’ income, the operators have designed a farmers’ bazaar, which allows them to sell products such as home-grown fruits, rice and handcrafts on weekends.

Up to now, the village has introduced more than 20 brands featuring different lifestyles including entertainment and academic research tours, according to Tan Cheng, a manager of the third-party operation company.

The second phase of the construction of Changyangli is expected to be completed by the end of this year, which will create more business forms for rural tourism, Tan said.

Rural tourism has boomed in recent years as China promotes beautiful countryside construction. Sites across the country have adopted proper measures to develop tourism in rural areas based on local conditions.

Known as a land of rice and fish in Jiangnan, which refers to regions around the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, Jiangsu boasts spectacular rural scenery and cultural heritage. And this has helped the province’s villagers get richer.

In 2021, Jiangsu’s rural areas received 390 million visits, generating revenue of 121.27 billion yuan, official data showed. So far, Jiangsu has 53 villages and seven towns listed as national model destinations for rural tourism, ranking top among peers in the country.

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