New district makes a splash as Huzhou focuses on ecosystem

By Yuan Shenggao | China Daily | Updated: Sep 9, 2019


Participants in the ongoing annual general meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development visit a village in Zhejiang province on Tuesday to learn more about green development in China's rural areas. Wang Zhuangfei / China Daily

Preserving natural assets creates profitable tourism and attracts more foreign investment

A grand ceremony was hosted in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, on Sunday to mark the launch of South Taihui Lake New District.

The district is an important part in the construction of the Great Bay Area in Zhejiang. The local authority is investing 1 trillion yuan ($145 billion) to make it a world-class location on a par with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in southern China.

The new district is designed to show the lake area as a model of harmony between people and nature. Leisure and rural tourism is highlighted in its long-term development plan, according to Huzhou authorities.

Huzhou, in the north of Zhejiang province, has long been dubbed the cradle of China's "Two Mountains" theory - in which clear waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, comparable to gold and silver mountains of legend.

China has referred to the theory many times, both domestically and overseas, to illustrate the country's determination to improve environmental protection and increase green development efforts.

At the second meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, in May 2016, the UN Environment Programme published a report, Green is Gold: The Strategy and Actions of China's Ecological Civilization. It examined China's attempts to build an "ecological civilization".

Over years of continuous green endeavors, Huzhou has used a unique way of encouraging farmers to participate in and benefit from rural tourism. This is thanks to the improved environment, which turns villages into scenic areas.

In 2018, the city received a total of 43 million tourists for rural travels, accounting for more than half the total number of tourists it received.

Revenue of rural tourism in the city topped 12 billion yuan last year. This contributed an annual increase of 639 yuan to each farmer, lifting the rural area's living standards.

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