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By Yang Feiyue | China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-12 11:13

Rural homestays in Dongtou have increased significantly, offering better travel experiences. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Homestays boost tourism in rural Zhejiang, Yang Feiyue reports.

Rows of houses are tucked among green hills and the farmlands of Dongtou district in Zhejiang province's Wenzhou city, next to which the East China Sea shimmers.

The district is located on the province's southeastern coast and consists of more than 300 islands. Back in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the poet Wang Buxiao put Dongtou on the map by waxing lyrical about it being a mystic place by the sea.

Now, many urban tourists follow in Wang's footsteps and visit Dongtou to enjoy the sea view and the rural landscape, which has given local tourism a shot in the arm. The number for travelers has maintained an annual growth of more than 20 percent, local officials say.

There are 350 rural homestays, offering more than 4,600 beds, which increased by 60 percent year-on-year in 2018. More than 20 percent of the local farmers have switched to tourism-related businesses or jobs.

In Dongtou's Dong'ao village, most members of the fishing community have either sold their houses for tourism activities or rented them out as homestays. More than 1,000 locals who used to work away from home returned to start their own tourism businesses in 2017.

"Homestay has witnessed a growth nationwide, and I figured my hometown had good tourism resources, which are ideal for a homestay business," says Yan Zhengrong, a resident of the village.

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