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Tourism makes resurgence, provides jobs in Gansu province

By WANG XIAODONG | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-05-04 19:38

Qi Jing used to work at an electronics factory in Guangzhou with her husband, but never considered going back to Zhujiagou village, her husband's home village deep in the mountains of Gansu province, until the end of 2016.

"The village is so poor and we could find no jobs here," Qi, 26, said. "Besides, we could earn more elsewhere rather than growing crops in the village."

After spending the Chinese New Year in the village this year, Qi did not set out for Guangzhou like she had done in the past. Instead, persuaded by Zhu Yanjie, deputy Party chief of the village, she decided to join a local tourism company and open a food stall in order to cater to tourists visiting the village.

"Business has been better than I expected since the food stall was opened last month," she said. "During the May Day holiday I could make more than 1,000 yuan ($145)every day."

The company, called Renheju Tourism and Vocation Co, was established by Zhu, who was born in the village, with the help of the local government, in an attempt to develop tourism in the village and lift villagers out of poverty, Zhu said.

Although the village boasts rich tourism resources such as beautiful natural scenery and well preserved local culture, the people remained impoverished, and 46 villagers still lived under the poverty line at the end of last year, he said. The only cement road linking the village to nearby Kangxian county opened just last year.

Before setting up the company, Zhu ran a hotel in nearby Kangxian county, and earned more than one million yuan a year.

"Although I am well off now, I feel sorry to see some of the villagers who I grew up with still living in poverty," he said. "So when the government called for investing in a tourism company, I volunteered."

Villagers are encouraged to invest in the company, but impoverished villagers can also join the business for free, he said.

Zhu spent nearly one million yuan to start the company, which included renovating the villagers' houses, repairing roads in the village and improving the landscaping, he said.

The company was in business in mid April, and by early May, 10 households in the village, many living under the poverty line, had joined the business by opening food stalls or selling souvenirs, Zhu said.

"Running food stalls and selling snacks is one the best ways to increase their incomes, as it requires little investment but generates high profits," he said.

During the past May Day holiday, nearly 10,000 tourists from nearby cities took advantage of various services the company provides, he said.

"Now some other villagers are planning to join, seeing the business can really make money," Zhu said.

With more tourists expected, the company will develop more services to help villagers increase income, including hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, bars and programs involving farming and harvesting, he said.

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