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Elevating a mountain's magic

By Yang Feiyue | China Daily | Updated: 2020-06-30 07:15

A pastoral scene at Xiangu village. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"It really puts our scenic area in Changzhou's backyard," Yang says.

Maoshan Mountain received 4.53 million visits in 2019, up 18 percent over the previous year.

Tourism revenue stood at 710 million yuan, up 23.5 percent year-on-year.

"Maoshan Mountain is a celebrated Taoist site. And we've focused on integrating Taoist culture with health preservation," Yang says.

The tourism boom has also brought transformative changes to villagers' lives.

Jiang's farm has hired over 200 locals, most of whom earned only 3,000 to 4,000 yuan a year cultivating the land.

Most now receive around 50,000 yuan a year from leasing their land to the farm, Jiang says. And they grow and cook food for his guesthouse, help at the hotel or transport the farm's produce to customers.

Local households who sell produce or work in the catering and homestay businesses have significantly increased their incomes.

Homestay owners earn about 300,000 yuan a year on average, Yang says.

"Most villagers have come back from working in cities," he says.

Zhang Lijun changed her rural house into a homestay that offers seven guestrooms in 2018.

The homestay business has more than doubled her family's income.

"We're always fully booked on holidays," Zhang says.

Zhang made the decision after seeing a growing number of visitors to her village of Jinniushanzhuang, about a 10-minute drive from Jiang's farm.

"Many great homestay players from across the country have come to my neighborhood, which increased my confidence to start my own business," Zhang says.

Locals run about half of Jinniushanzhuang's more than 60 homestays.

"It's clear everyone is paying attention to offering better environments and services," Zhang says.

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