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Systematic measures key to sustain PPT development,November 24, 2017 Adjust font size:

In May 2015, the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development and the National Tourism Administration (NTA) issued the Proposal to Launch Pro-poor Tourism Pilot Projects in Poverty-stricken Villages. The notice made a concrete and comprehensive assessment of urgent problems in rural pro-poor tourism (PPT) development from planning, funding, and talent training, to social participation and supervision. 560 registered poverty-stricken villages were selected as PPT pilot villages. The issuance of this notice and launching of pilot projects was to play a significant role in promoting poverty alleviation in China. 

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. But in the process of rural tourism development, it’s often the case that some rural residents overcome poverty and become prosperous by setting up street stands or opening family inns. It’s often ignored that behind the face of family businesses, children are incorporated into the workforce, and over time emphasis shifts to increasing income and away from the greater goal of education of the younger generations. In some poor regions tourism has developed rapidly but enrollment of school-age children has conversely dropped. Therefore PPT should take extreme care to address the education of future generations and avoid negative consequences on children’s education through rigorous guidance and advocation. 

As society changes, many historic villages are becoming poor, are in decline, or even on the verge of complete abandonment. These rural areas are an indispensable part of human civilization. In comparison with the mere few hundred years of industrialization, man’s connection with the countryside has existed for thousands of years. But although the countryside conjures up deep feelings of nostalgia, the preservation of these sentiments does not mean that successive generations should remain glued in one place. Only after children venture off to other places to expand their horizons, and return to improve and rebuild their hometowns will village societies see a better future.

There is no fixed model of success for PPT because different regions have their own distinct characteristics and needs. Systematic poverty alleviation measures like planned poverty alleviation, sustainable poverty alleviation, training-based poverty alleviation, information-based poverty alleviation, integrated poverty alleviation, policy-based poverty alleviation, and “wild goose effect” poverty alleviation must be employed to improve the effectiveness of PPT. While employing planned poverty alleviation the government must avoid taking on every aspect of the entire project itself. It must consider each village’s unique characteristics. It must avoid extravagance, instead focusing on precision and applicability. 

Planned poverty alleviation can bring direction to tourism development in poverty-stricken villages, but when facing problems that can’t be solved overnight, it’s necessary to establish a mechanism of sustainable poverty alleviation. Since the availability of experts is limited, establishing a mechanism of sustainable poverty alleviation requires the support of volunteers. This depends on whether or not more college students with majors in tourism, architecture, landscape and art can be convinced to participate in and support PPT. Just like in medicine, blood is easy to transfuse but hard to create— in poverty alleviation it’s easy to donate money and make plans, but hard to stimulate the innate aptitude for development in rural poor regions. This requires offering service and management training for local people alongside PPT efforts. Skill training and technical assistance probably offer more concrete value than direct financial support.


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