Healthy changes – Chinadaily.com.cn

Jaime E. Love
Shanggantang village in Yongzhou, Hunan province, draws visitors with its ancient buildings nestled among the hills. JIANG KEQING/FOR CHINA DAILY

As tourism continues to fuel China’s rural revitalization drive, fun-packed getaways and the wellness travel sector are booming, Yang Feiyue reports.

Culture and tourism have given rural development a shot in the arm and brought significant changes to local life.

More than 100,000 travelers annually flock to Bama Yao autonomous county in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region to enjoy the therapeutical air and natural environment, which has brought an improvement in the lives of villagers, who once struggled with poverty.

Deng Yongkang has been doing good business at his Renshou retreat, which has integrated healthy food, ethnic Yao acrobatic performances, a bamboo forest and rice paddies.

“People have been visiting in huge numbers as the county is widely considered to be an ideal location for health and wellness,” Deng says.

Renshou retreat takes in 400,000 traveler visits every year, and has, to date, helped more than 50 rural households develop homestay businesses.

Average rural household income has increased by 30,000 yuan ($4,722) a year, according to the local authority.

Tourism has become a pillar industry for the county, which shook off poverty in 2019.

The county received more than 4.2 million tourist visits during the first six months of last year, and more than 36,000 villagers have managed to make a living via health and wellness tourism.

“We will further tap into the potential of Bama’s health tourism and traditional medicine, and turn it into a world-class destination for the sector,” says Huang Bingfeng, Party secretary of Bama.

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