Shaanxi county uses tourism to boost poverty alleviation

Baku, April 23, AZERTAC

The rapid development of ecological tourism in Zhashui county in Northwest China's Shaanxi province is giving a big boost to its ongoing anti-poverty efforts, according to

Zhashui county, located in the southern part of Shaanxi, has been striving to develop its ecological tourism industry, despite abundant ecological resources. Awarded the title of "China Natural Oxygen Bar" by the China Meteorological Administration, the county receives more than 10 million tourists from home and abroad every year.

Niubeiliang National Nature Reserve in Qinling Mountains occupies the intersection of Zhashui county, Chang'an county and Ningshan county. The section in Zhashui county started construction in 2008 and began to receive tourists in 2010.

Zhou Heng, president of Niubeiliang Ecology Development Company, the developer of the scenic area, said the scenic spot receives about 500,000 tourists every year. The pouring in of tourists has driven the growth of the local economy and helped increase the income of local rural people.

"The development of the scenic area has injected energy to the farm stay industry. There are more than 200 farm family resorts run by local villagers so far," Zhou said. "The per-capita income of residents around the scenic area has now increased to 18,000 yuan, up from 3,500 before the opening of the scenic spot," he added.

Zhongnan Mountain Village in the rural region of Zhashui county is built as a sports and leisure resort, combining ecological protection and traditional culture preservation.

Deng Youcai, CEO of Zhongnan Mountain Village Tourism Company, said the local people living in or around the area were included in the resort's development plan from the beginning.

With the jobs provided by the resort, local people do not have to leave for big cities to make a living.

Cheng Xianqin, 44, opened a snack food store with her husband at the resort 3 years ago. "We can earn 20,000 yuan a month during the peak tourist season. It's three to four times more than we earned before we came here," Cheng said.

The resort has also reached an agreement with more than 800 poor households to purchase their agricultural products and handicrafts to help them increase sales, Deng said.

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