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UPDATED: 16:51, October 28, 2004
China tries to shake off poverty through rural tourism
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After initial explorations, Chinese local governments are trying a new method to help farmers shake off poverty--developing rural tourism.

Large-scale rural tourism is not yet a mature practice in China, but experts are all optimistic about its prospects since many rural areas are rich in tourism resources, which are attracting more and more holiday makers from cities.

Tourism is one of the engines of world development, said an official of the World Tourism Organization, which can help three fourth extremely poor population living in rural areas worldwide to better shake off poverty.

The advantage of rural tourism lies in the fact that poor people can gain benefits from other's business strategies and existing markets, the official said, and it can drive a large number of people out of poverty. So we should encourage tourism enterprises to employ poor people in large numbers and to provide job opportunities for them.

Since the reform and opening up, a large batch of rural areas have become rich through developing local tourism, such as old revolutionary base Jinggangshan, Yan'an, Xibaipo, poverty-stricken mountain areas such as Zhangjiajie, Changbaishan and minority nationality regions as Xishuangbanna, Lijiang, Yanji and many places in northwest China.

The root of poverty lies in low-level skills of people, experts hold, while rural tourism can not only help to better economic conditions of farmers, but create opportunities for them to raise cultural and sci-tech quality.

Tourism is an effective "exploring way" of poverty alleviation, said an official from the National Tourism Administration. People who get rich through tourism have a lower rate of returning to poverty and they can be embarked on the road of wealth faster.

Doctor Shi Peihua from the State Development and Planning Commission holds that the function of rural tourism is all-rounded which extends into various aspects of rural development. Development of rural tourism should be combined with the building of a well-off society in an all round way and the tackling of problems related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers.

By People's Daily Online

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