Space missions bring down-to-earth benefits

By Zhao Lei | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-09-22 09:31
Share - WeChat

Editor's note: In this series, China Daily looks at some of the areas in which major progress has been made in the 10 years since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in November 2012.

Residents gather to witness the launch of a Long March 5B rocket in Wenchang, Hainan province, on July 24. LUO YUNFEI/CHINA NEWS SERVICE

Spectacle of rocket launches draws throngs of visitors, newfound prosperity to township in coastal Hainan

Chen Li, a 62-year-old restaurant owner in Longlou, a coastal township in China's southernmost island province of Hainan, said he is grateful to the country's space industry, which has increased the business at his eatery over the past several years.

"There were so many people coming to Longlou before the launch of the Wentian space lab. There was'a mountain of people, a sea of people'. A lot of tourists came to my restaurant to have a taste of Wenchang chicken," he said, referring to a renowned local delicacy.

Chen said that although he opened his first restaurant in 1992, it wasn't until 2016 that his business began to flourish-thanks to the space launch missions that began to be carried out that year at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Longlou, the youngest space base in China and the only coastal one.

"Since the first launch at the center (in June 2016), the number of tourists keeps rising every year, and my business continues to blossom. Many tourists told me that they came here to watch the splendid scenes of launching a rocket and would also spend some days in the town visiting local scenery," the businessman said.

He added that before the Wentian mission, he had never seen so many travelers in Longlou.

"I think at least 100,000 people flooded into Longlou before the launch. Rooms at all of the inns, hostels and hotels that I know of had been booked up many days before the scheduled date for the spaceflight. I also hired part-time waiters and prepared more food for the swarm of tourists."

According to the township government, more than half a million tourists were in Longlou on July 24 to see the launch of Wentian.

Chen said he owes a debt of gratitude to the nation's space endeavors.

"Because of the space programs, my business is now 10 times more than it was in the years before the launch missions came here. Without them, our lives could never have been as good as they are now," he said, adding that he sets off fireworks in front of his restaurant each time a carrier rocket is successfully launched from the Wenchang center.

In addition, Chen said, many local people who had worked elsewhere have returned to Longlou to start their own businesses, hoping to reap the benefits from opportunities brought about by the space sector.

Local authorities said there are now nearly 1,000 shops and hospitality-related businesses in Longlou-four times the number it had before 2016. Residents' average annual income had reached 19,171 yuan ($2,720) by the end of 2021, which is 40 percent higher than in 2016.

1 2 3 Next   >>|
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349