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Bridges help Guizhou live the high life

China Daily Global, March 20, 2023
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Tourists join harvesters near Dafaqu Grand Bridge, Zunyi, Guizhou. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Hotel owners prosper in the valley

Ma Xuanjun, a villager in a rural part of the southwestern province of Guizhou, used to be a migrant, working odd jobs in many cities. However, his life has changed entirely thanks to the opening of the Beipan Bridge, which spans the Beipan River Valley.

His home is Longjing, a village that lies in the depths of the valley that is straddled by the bridge, which hangs more than 565 meters above. Guinness World Records has recognized the structure as the highest bridge in the world.

The bridge was opened to traffic in December 2016. In response, Ma began construction of a new building in front of his home, equipping it as a bed-and-breakfast facility to accommodate tourists.

The bridge's scenery and fame have attracted tourists from across the country, which means Ma's business is prospering.

"I have received tourists from all over China, and even some foreign visitors," he said, adding that he usually gives his customers an introduction to the bridge in the hope of impressing them and promoting his home region.

Ma's life has become richer through running the business. He shared his experience with his neighbors and other locals, offering suggestions to help them open small hotels and introducing clients to their businesses.

He also provides job opportunities at his facility for villagers in need. Now, local people have opened five homestays under the bridge.

However, as more tourists visit the village, they leave litter behind, such as plastic bags and bottles. Ma has volunteered to clean the riverbank under the bridge, collecting waste and protecting the local environment.

"We have to protect the environment under the bridge to guarantee sustainable development," he said.

He now plans to expand his hotel and work to improve facilities with his village peers to provide better options for accommodations and attract more customers.

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