Official turns unknown village into popular tourist spot, leads villagers to prosperous lives

(People's Daily Online) 13:16, November 24, 2021

A village official and a local resident managed to turn a picturesque village in southwest China’s Sichuan Province into a popular tourist destination by creating popular short videos about the locality during the past two years.

Photo shows beautiful scenery of Heigou village in southwest China’s Sichuan province. (yangtse.com/ Photo courtesy of the interviewees)

Ren Xianqiao started working as the first secretary in charge of poverty alleviation in Heigou village in the province in 2018.

Ren was amazed by the breathtaking views of the village, which were rarely known to the outside world due to poor surrounding transportation. As a photography enthusiast, he came up with the idea of filming videos of the village’s beautiful natural landscapes. He learned how to use video editing software and edited videos by himself, and then uploaded his videos onto a short video platform.

In March 2019, a video of a dramatic landscape of magnificent mountains shrouded by a sea of clouds inadvertently went viral on the short video platform, garnering over 20,000 likes.

The video eventually brought business opportunities to Heigou village. An Internet user asked Ren whether the village had Herpetospermum pedunculosum, a kind of traditional Tibetan medicinal herb. It just so happened that the village, which sells the medicinal herb, was dealing with poor sales of the herb at the time. Ren immediately showcased some of the herbs to the Internet user, who then agreed to purchase over 400,000 yuan (about $62,638) worth of herbs from the village the next day.

Ren Xianqiao (R) and Yuan Xiaobo operate a drone to film the scenery in the village. (yangtse.com/ Photo courtesy of the interviewees)

“It’s a big sum of money for a mountain village with about 70 households. I was glad to help villagers sell their products,” Ren said excitedly, revealing that the event made him realize that his attempts to publicize the village online had demonstrated that such efforts can yield benefits.

Since his office term was nearing its end, Ren then decided to carry out plans to cultivate a willing successor to take up his publicity work. The village official finally selected Yuan Xiaobo, who had returned to his hometown to work, and taught Yuan how to shoot and edit videos within three months.

In March 2020, Ren and Yuan opened a new account on Douyin, a popular short-video sharing platform in China. Since then, they have continued to upload videos that showcase the village’s stunning sceneries, such as the starry night sky, an early sunrise, a sea of clouds and snow-capped mountains, as well as showcasing local customs and everyday life in the village.

The videos filmed by Ren and Yuan attracted more and more visitors to the village, boosting local tourism and improving the livelihoods of local villagers. Yuan also started working as a “guide” for tourists, earning a monthly income of more than 20,000 yuan.

Photo shows Yuan Xiaobo. (yangtse.com/ Photo courtesy of the interviewees)

Ren’s office term in Heigou village came to an end this May. For Ren, one of his proudest achievements in the village was turning it into a popular tourist destination and enabling villagers to lead prosperous lives with their own hands.

“I passed along the baton for publicizing the village through short videos to Yuan Xiaobo, and he has done a great job,” Ren said, hoping that more young people will return to their hometown in the future to continue contributing to local development. 

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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