On December 2nd, on the 24th general assembly of the UNWTO in 2021, China’s Yucun village of Zhejiang province and Xidi village of Anhui province were listed in the first batch of the best tourism villages by UNWTO.
Yucun village situates in the Anji county of Huzhou city in Zhejiang province. On August 15th, 2005, Xi Jinping, the secretary of Zhejiang provincial party committee back then, went to Yuncun for a research and brought up for the first time the scientific statement that “green mountain and lush water are valuable assets”. For more than a decade, the village has shut down mines, recovering ecology and spending significant effort to develop rural tourism, resulting in the successful transformation of ecological advantage to that of ecological development. Ecological protection and the development of people’s livelihood led to a win-win situation between man and nature. Yucun case gives rise to the other programs in Chinese villages. The green development theory that “green mountain and lush water are valuable assets” is already a consensus for the whole society. Xidi locates in Qianxian county of Huangshan city of Anhui province. At the end of 1980s, it began to develop rural tourism, attracting a lot of tourists with it’s rural scenery and ancient architecture in traditional Anhui style. Xidi has improved itself form an undeveloped village to a destination of rural tourism known by China and the international society by finding ways to make full use of cultural heritage and stepping on the road of sustainable development with a benign interaction among “people, object and scenery”.
Yucun’s and Xidi’s entry into the first batch of the UNWTO’s “best tourism villages” is an example to show to the world China’s strategy of rural rejuvenation; new development theory of innovation, coordination, green, open and sharing and practice to build a beautiful China of man and nature’s harmonious co-existence. Through Chinese village, the world can have a better understanding of a healthy China sticking to sustainable development.
Yucun and Xidi are examples of booming Chinese rural tourism. In recent years, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has been promoting the development of rural tourism and has created a batch of destination with sound ecology, nature-friendly production and good life for local residents. Currently, China has 1199 national key rural tourism village and 100 national key rural tourism town, proving that villages is a desirable place to go for vacation. Besides enriching tourism market, rural areas lead people to poverty alleviation. Rural tourism has multiple modes, including “village led by scenic area” and “cooperative+household”, which has helped registered poverty-stricken villages to be lifted out of poverty. The rural rejuvenation will be further implemented, rural tourism and relating industries will be integrated to a higher level to give residents prosperous life and to shape a new image for villages what it’s a place conducive to living and business, so as to enable “beautiful villages” to contribute to “beautiful China”. the next step of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is to move to the international market by transforming villages with certain condition into the destination for international rural tourism.
The selection of the first batch of 2021 “best tourism villages” by the UNWTO started in the May of this year. The aim is to support the sustainable development and the protection of of rural cultural heritage through tourism.