Rural tourism helps alleviate poverty in Chifeng
Rural tourism in Chifeng city, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, has benefited a large number of local residents, especially those struggling with poverty.
Yang Fengmei, a Leiyingzi villager of Xiqiao town is one such beneficiary. Operating a family homestay business, Yang can have 150 interested visitors a day, and she estimates that revenue will reach 280,000 yuan ($42,200) this year when past years have seen her struggling to bring in 3,000 yuan.
The report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China encouraged the development of rural areas, giving directions to Chifeng’s development of agriculture, farming and its rural regions.
The ecological advantages of Leiyingzi village – 90 percent of its 11 million square meters is covered in forest – make it one of the country’s key villages working to alleviate poverty through rural tourism.
Being next to the national 4A scenic spot Maanshan Forest Park, Leiyingzi has used this to its advantage, creating a tourism cooperative involving 164 households. The village has now become a model of rural tourism in Chifeng, with more than 20 family homestays that combined can accommodate 200 people.
The village also made agreements with professional travel agencies in providing tourism planning, operation, management, and training for villagers.
Yang said that with the arrival of tourists, villagers can sell more native eggs, wild vegetables and other agricultural products, and that 1 kilogram of dried mountain mushrooms can earn 200 yuan.
Chifeng’s villages have distinct characteristics that make them unique tourist destinations. Maanshan village features a vineyard estate tour that showcases its grape planting base, while Dahushi village in Ningcheng county features waterside homestays utilizing available reservoir resources.
Since 2016, Chifeng has provided 10 million yuan annually in supporting rural tourism development. In 2016, 4.95 million yuan was invested in 11 poverty-stricken villages, with 1,744 impoverished people from 785 households seeing benefit with an average per-household income increase of 1,180 yuan.
Today Chifeng has 20 towns with notable tourism industries and another 15 under construction, along with 61 new key tourism villages, and 135 integral rural tourism projects still under construction.
In 2017, 1.15 billion yuan was invested in Chifeng’s rural tourism programs, and the number of people engaged in rural tourism in Chifeng has now reached 18,000.