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PPT: A strategic pillar to build a well-off society,September 28, 2017 Adjust font size:

Pro-poor tourism (PPT) has been one of China’s major tasks since the Chinese economic reform and remains a strategic pillar in building a prosperous middle class society by 2020. In the process of fine-tuning PPT frameworks and the conceptual understanding of PPT, the following points require particular attention. 

One— deepen the concept of PPT. PPT should not just be used to promote rural economic development but also to bring about the self-motivated, intrinsic transformation of rural society. PPT should change the face of villages and improve educational standards for villagers. It should ascertain that the target of rural development is modernization, not industrialization or rural development through industrialization. PPT should clarify that preserving the unique characteristics of rural areas is not about halting progress, falling behind into depravity, or a forced regression to former times, but results from the dynamic logical progression of local people exercising their right to the pursuit of happiness. PPT is not short-term rapid economic development through government leadership and collectivism, but raising awareness of rights and stirring aspirations for improvement among rural residents by providing them with more voluntary opportunities for development. PPT should address income growth and distribution problems properly by making the important distinction between increasing regional government revenue and increasing the revenue of individual villagers and households. The first target of PPT is not the growth of regional government revenue but that of every individual farmer or household, and methods for improving each type of income differ greatly. Only when these concepts are fully grasped will development plans for poverty regions really have an impact on rural development. 

Two— get a firmer grasp on successful case examples of PPT. More attention should be paid to the economic development of regions surrounding these designated poverty areas. Currently there is already a thorough understanding of the poverty-stricken villages themselves, but very little is known about the areas surrounding them. Impoverished villages are not independently existing entities, but function in close connection with their surrounding areas. In implementation of poverty alleviation measures, one must be familiar with the greater environment of impoverished areas.  Naturally, when reflecting upon successful PPT cases, one should also make note of typical problems encountered, resolution methods, and trends in development. Only through this kind of careful retrospective analysis can successful PPT projects actually provide a model for other villages. Otherwise one risks blindly mimicking other development stories while neglecting local factors, thereby producing a string of irrelevant, unsuccessful PPT development projects. 

And in some regions, it’s necessary to employ “wild goose effect” poverty alleviation, or to select a few starkly poor villagers and families to set examples and lead the way in poverty alleviation for others. Land has always been one of the most important elements in economic development, and rural tourism development is no exception. If PPT can be used in conjunction with policy-based poverty alleviation to create special tourism land use policies, then this will not only promote innovation in tourism land use but also improve the sustainability of PPT. Different types of agriculture funds can also be used to develop tourism in poverty-stricken regions and villages with great tourism potential.


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