Red tourism rising

China Daily
Chen Zhuo
2019-09-06 17:27:13

Red and breakfast

Since 2011, a large number of villagers with the encouragement of the local government, have opened their doors to tourists and offered bed and breakfast.

Villagers like Xiao and Zhu have shaken off the past and now earn a comfortable living from their homes.

Peng Xiaying from Shenshan village, who opened her homestay in 2016 with her husband, said they can now earn about 110,000 yuan a year. Before that, the couple's income was around 9,000 yuan a year. Peng said the guests loved purchasing their dried bamboo shoots and sweet potatoes, tea, as well as handcrafted bamboo baskets and chopsticks, which all generate more income for the family.

"It really turned our lives upside down," she said while greeting a group of tourists from Sichuan province who'd stayed before.

The success of the homestays has seen companies from other provinces start investing in the village.

In Dacang village, a vast carpet of lotus flowers spreads to the foot of the mountain and the residents' old houses have been redesigned and refurbished with modern ensuite rooms.

These homestays are run professionally by a Shanghai company. Villagers rent their houses to the company and also hold shares. To maintain the accommodation status of a homestay, the company also offers jobs to locals.

The booming tourism industry has also enticed many villagers who earlier sought their fortunes elsewhere to return home.

When the first cafe in the village opened in May, Lin Xiaoyuan, who left home in 2007 looking for work opportunities in Chongqing, Zhejiang, Sichuan and Guangdong provinces, decided to return to the village and work as a waitress at the cafe. The other waitresses have similar stories.

"The salary is actually not more than before, but it feels good to be home," said Lin, who is married with two children.

Jinggangshan was officially removed from the poverty list in February 2017, becoming one of the first in the country to be re-categorized after President Xi Jinping set the goal of eradicating poverty by next year.

Last year, Xiao Fumin used some of his savings from his homestay business to cultivate 3 mu (0.067 hectares) of kiwi fruit, and said he expects a good harvest this year.

When asked about his dream of buying a gas stove, he laughed and said: "A gas stove? I can buy as many as I want today."

Related News