China is expecting tourism to play a bigger role in its anti-poverty efforts in rural areas during the 13th Five-year Plan period. As CRI’s Tu Yun reports, around 12 million people are likely to benefit.
The National Tourism Administration and the poverty alleviation office under the country’s cabinet have announced a joint plan for further development of countryside tourism between 2015 and 2020.
The plan is expected to help lift about 12 million people out of poverty during the period.
That roughly accounts for 17 percent of over 70 million Chinese citizens who are still living under poverty threshold.
Wu Wenxue, deputy head of the national tourism watchdog, admits the growing role of tourism in the country’s poverty reduction effort.
He says the developing industry can provide many opportunities for rural people.
“The development of tourism can benefit rural people in multiple ways. Villagers can operate businesses like restaurant or hotel. They can have more job opportunities in the benefited industries. They can profit from selling agricultural products as advanced tourism can often result in a price hike.”
Wu adds that villagers can also make money by joining local tourism cooperatives or renting their lands for related projects.
Statistics show that more than two million rural households have engaged in tourism-related business. They served about 1.2 billion tourists last year.
Between 2010 and 2014, more than 10 million rural people got rid of poverty thanks to the development of the sector.
Wu Wenxue says the market still has great potential. He pledges more measures will be in place for its further development.
“We will issue guidelines for a sound development of countryside tourism and join forces with relevant departments to improve local environmental conditions and public services to pave way for more efforts.”
Hong Tianyun with the State Council’s poverty relief office vows his department will help coordinate efforts for the move.
“We will assist with pilot programs and provide more supports in this regard, directing local governments’ poverty-relief funds to the sector and encouraging private capitals to tap into the market.”
China plans to involve 150,000 villages nationwide in the move and make them capable of receiving two billion tourists a year by 2020 with revenues exceeding 1 trillion yuan.