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Village takes plunge on tourism

By YAN DONGJIE and MA JINGNA in Linxia, Gansu | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-12-12 10:47
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Lanterns decorate the courtyard of Fan Shunfu's homestay in He'ai village in Jishishan county, Gansu province. YAN DONGJIE/CHINA DAILY

Residents to develop facilities, benefit from natural resources in Gansu province

When Fan Shunfu was asked to convert his farmhouse into a homestay for tourists in He'ai village, he was far from convinced it would end up a successful business venture.

After working for decades in Ngari, Xizang autonomous region, he returned to Liuji township in Jishishan county, Linxia Hui autonomous prefecture in Gansu province last year.

"I hadn't seen many tourists coming, so I was worried that there would be no guests," he said of his concerns, adding he had a firm belief that the tourism industry was better suited to China's eastern and southern provinces, not the far reaches of the country's northwest.

He'ai village is located near the border of Gansu and Qinghai provinces. It takes more than three hours to drive there from Lanzhou Zhongchuan International Airport and about 1.5 hours from Linxia's railway station.

"What can be seen most on the way is loess mountains, and maybe some sheep farmers grazing their sheep," he said, adding that villagers mainly used to earn a living from farming and shepherding.

Village Party secretary Fan Zonghe had persuaded Fan Shunfu to convert the farmhouse into a guesthouse, a task he reluctantly undertook. Party officials had seen the potential in developing local tourism, while others needed to be convinced.

In 2014, the county government built several new residential areas for villagers living in humble stone dwellings. Over 500 households were resettled into new houses with sturdy walls, heating, running water and a reliable power supply.

In August 2021, a tourist thoroughfare that passes through the village was opened. The road, with rainbow patterns painted on it, brought new hope to the then-impoverished mountain village and was a reminder to the village committee to utilize the area's abundant tourism resources.

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