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Tourism Golden Week brings Chinese farmers a week of gold rush
( 2003-10-06 16:34) (Xinhua)

A "Gold Rush" for Chinese farmers is taking place as rural dwellers make the most of a spending spree by city residents during the National Day Golden Week.

The increasingly market-oriented farmers are working hard to attract city tourists to their courtyards.

By offering "the country life experience" program, suburban farmers of Jinan, capital of Shandong Province, promote the peace and quiet, inviting citizens to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown and enjoy the fresh air.

Zhou Lihe, a farmer in Zhongguan County of Shandong, has painted his house and stocked tons of vegetables, eggs and poultryahead of the holiday.

"With a small amount of money, I turned my place into a hostel," he said, "I made use of my own room, garden, field and farm produce, and travelers just loved it."

Zhou hosted several families from the city of Jinan on the first day of the week-long holiday. Tourists stretched their muscles laboring in Zhou's field, and had a feast in the evening with vegetables and fruit they had picked from the garden.

Folk culture amazed city kids who have lived all their life in high-rise buildings. They had great fun eating dinner in the open air, playing with cocks and dogs, drinking water directly from thewell and rolling about on the "kang", a heated brick bed used by northerners in rural areas of China.

While some farmers are engaged in backyard business, others rush to cities to join in the service sector which runs short of labor during this season.

Those with driving skills are likely to land a job in the taxi company as temporary drivers, since taxies run around the clock during the holiday season, and can not meet the demand for night drivers.

The majority of the farm workers swarm into the restaurants andtourist spots, taking on unskilled jobs.

Some are targeting the urban eating habits, since National Day is farmer's harvest time. They take home-grown vegetables including corn, peanuts and sweet potatoes to the city for sale where they are soon snapped up.

With plenty of time to cook and enjoy the authentic, chemical-free vegetables, citizens always pick a bunch from the farmers instead of going to the supermarket.

Qin Qingwu, director of the Institute of Rural Development of Shandong Academy of Social Sciences has called for more preferential policies toward farmers to increase their income during the holiday season.


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