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Cash on beautiful scenery in a “green” way,September 27, 2017 Adjust font size:

Many impoverished areas in Hunan are extremely beautiful, yet shockingly poor. Fenghuang County is a typical example.

It is encouraging to see that about 9,000 documented poor households escaped from poverty last year through the development of tourism. For years people have taken for granted the green mountains and waters, as well as the customs of the Miao ethnic minority that date back thousands of years. These have now become a generator of significant revenues.

Fenghuang County makes use of poverty alleviation funds to lever social investments. It has invested heavily in protecting traditional architecture, and building and renovating public service infrastructure for tourism. Last year, 523 traditional homes were placed under protection. Some ancient villages like Laodong and Feishuigu have become popular scenic spots. 

Local government also provides poor households with collective and one-on-one training sessions. Talented individuals are identified through these programs so that they can offer assistance to other households.

Yan Changwen, the party chief of Fenghuang County, said that poor households eligible for poverty alleviation support can become shareholders in a tourism company by investing their own traditional homes, that some poor people can improve their earnings by working for the scenic spots, hotels and craft industries, and that some others have escaped from poverty by selling Miao embroidery and special agriculture products. “Some families can benefit from more than one of these opportunities, which does not merely help them escape from poverty, but actually leads their way to prosperity.” 

Following the example of Fenghuan, 30 other counties in Hunan promoted poverty alleviation through tourism last year. Several beautiful villages that were not known in the past, such as Wuling Mountain and Luoxiao Mountain, have now become valuable assets in reducing poverty. 

According to the provincial poverty alleviation and development office, Hunan will develop 13 high quality tourist routes and set up a coordinated group of tourism demonstration counties and villages, so that more regions can take advantage of this trend and eradicate poverty altogether.



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