"Village IPs" nurture new opportunities for rural development

(Xinhua) 16:58, February 05, 2024

GUIYANG, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- As the night falls, 30-year-old Yan Yiting and his wife were still busy working at their own rolled-rice noodles stall in Rongjiang County in southwest China's Guizhou Province.

Their snack stall is close to the stadium, which hosts the "Village Night," the local version of the Spring Festival Gala, and the renowned Village Super League (Cun Chao), the village football league. As a result, customer traffic at the stall has dramatically increased.

"Our business is pretty good today, and it is estimated that our stall will stay open until one or two o'clock in the early morning," Yan said while greeting guests, adding that he had already sold more than 700 rolled-rice noodles, and hardly taken a break.

The new season of Village Super League in 2024, which began last month, is ongoing, while the "Village Night" serial activities also enlighten Rongjiang County's lively festive atmosphere.

Flocks of tourists and football lovers have brought great consumption demands in the local villages, especially in the catering, accommodation, local specialty production and tourism sectors.

According to data provided by the Village Super League Office of Rongjiang County, since the Village Super League 2023 went viral online, Rongjiang has received more than 7.33 million tourists and raked in a total tourism revenue of over 8.1 billion yuan (about 1.1 billion U.S. dollars). During this year's "Village Night" held on Feb. 3, Rongjiang attracted more than 30,000 audiences to watch its grand celebration.

Ma Xianhua from northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region came in early to be of the "Village Night," carrying fruits and bread in her bag, with a camera hanging around her neck.

"This batik scarf I bought here presents the unique characteristics of local ethnic minorities. Also, the rolled-rice noodles and barbecue in the county are delicious," Ma said excitedly, explaining that it was her first time to travel to the county.

"Our county is holding a series of Village Super League new season football matches and various of 'Village Night' themed activities to celebrate the upcoming Spring Festival," said He Huan, director of the county's tourism development service center.

He said these events not only enrich the holiday life of local people, but also help boost the consumption during the Spring Festival holiday.

In order to provide all-round services to the visitors, Rongjiang County has increased its supply of hotel rooms and restaurants and launched special tourist packages involving activities like visiting local ancient villages, experiencing folk customs and enjoying gourmet dishes.

Organized and played by locals, village tournaments became a sports phenomenon of China in 2023, bringing substantial economic benefits and drawing significant international attention.

Apart from Cun Chao, village basketball and volleyball tournaments have thrived across China, and their immense popularity has attracted NBA stars and English Premier League representatives to visit and explore cooperation opportunities.

In Taipan Village, Taijiang County, 200 km away from Rongjiang County, the Village Basketball League, also dubbed "Cun BA," was first formed from the local Miao people's "June 6th" basketball game.

Thanks to a series of Cun BA events, Taijiang County received over 4.68 million tourists in the first three quarters of 2023, earning more than 5.4 billion yuan of tourism revenues, said local authorities.

In Wenchang City, south China's Hainan Province, local villagers also enjoy the happiness of participating in Village Volleyball Tournaments under the lush coconut trees. Exciting volleyball games not only light up their nightlife, but also help turn the rural cultural and sports tourism resources into a novel and integrated economic development model.

"In recent years, the 'Village Intellectual Property (IP),' namely these tournaments and signature activities organized by villages, has set up a platform for the booming development of cultural tourism economy, which has brought new opportunities for the integration and development of rural cultural tourism and further empowered rural revitalization," said Cheng Tonglin, associate professor of the school of economics of Guizhou University.

Cheng added that efforts are needed to further strengthen the construction of rural infrastructures, constantly stimulate the creativity and enthusiasm of the locals, and create more distinctive "Village IPs" to fuel the popularity and vitality of China's countryside.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Zhong Wenxing)


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