Tourism is gradually reviving in southwest China's Yunnan Province amid the COVID-19 pandemic with inter-provincial traveling groups and special traveling routes boosting the local economy and putting poverty-stricken people on the path to a brighter future.
Located in southwestern Yunnan's Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, the Xishuangbanna Primeval Forest Park Scenic Area raises its reputation with dense jungle and folk shows from ethnic Dai group.
To win back the summer vacation market, the park resumed a night gala and offered discounts for tourist groups that order trips online under the premise of preventing and controlling the epidemic.
With these efforts on boosting tourism, the tourist reception has recovered to 70 percent of the visitor flow of the same period last year in this scenic area.
Much more visitors came here for vacations comparing with the previous months, and most of them were here through inter-provincial group tours or self-driving from nearby places.
Places other than Xishuangbanna also welcomed visitors with well-designed plans that are more suitable for the new normal of epidemic prevention and control.
Travels within Yunnan caught many study tour organizations' attentions as they can't organize long trips. To switch the business, the organizations rolled out short-distance trips to regions of Kunming, Shangri-La, Tengchong, Puzhehei and Xishuangbanna.
"We can't do long trips so we developed a series of activities that require to stay overnight for local Kunming children, such as staying overnight in library, aquarium, dragon valley or zoo," said a teacher from a local study tour organization.
Travel agencies in Yuxi City developed various travel routes covering both nearby areas within the province and popular tourism destinations outside Yunnan, including Ningxia, Sichuan and Shaanxi.
As one of the poverty-stricken areas, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture planned to lift people out poverty through stimulating tourism growth.
Residents living in Lancang Lahu Autonomous County, Pu’er City are also working on getting rid of poverty via tourism combining with ethnic folk culture protection.
To win the battle against poverty, local Lahu people utilized their advantages in singing and dancing and built special villages attracting visitors as well as inheriting ethnical culture.
Dressing up in their traditional attire, the 494 villagers, most of whom were farmers, changed themselves into performers bringing shows featuring Lahu culture to visitors.
Located in a rural mountainous region, the natural environment here is harsh.
The number of people living in poverty reached more than 210,000 at its peak, close to half of the total population in this county.
The Laodabao villager group is a local model of getting rid of poverty through developing culture.
In recent years, villagers opened performing arts company and built tourism town. As the village is getting famous, more and more visitors have come here, and residents' living conditions have improved significantly.
By the end of last year, the village's tourism income alone had reached 9.27 million yuan (around 1.33 million U.S. dollars), and the per capita disposable income reached more than 11,000 yuan (about 1,585 U.S. dollars).
All the poverty-stricken people have been lifted out of poverty.
In the whole county, over 100,000 people have increased their income, and over 30,000 residents had got rid of poverty by the end of 2019.
"I've never thought about getting rid of poverty through dancing and singing. Now our village has changed a lot. Our villagers' annual income is getting better year after year as we developed cultural tourism. We are living a happy life," said Peng Naer, a villager.
However, the local residents used to refuse developing tourism and acting performances.
Local authorities established leading groups for national cultural planning and intangible cultural heritage protection to provide policy guarantee for ensuring poverty alleviation through boosting tourism.
"On the one hand, we promoted cultural village to develop cultural travel; on the other hand, we organized cultural work teams. All the 157 villages in the county have their own work teams, and 20 towns have built national culture heritage halls," said Long Desheng, deputy head of the county.
In the leisure time, leaders of performing teams organize the masses for theoretical study, rehearsal, and repertoire innovation to prepare for performances on special days.
Residents gradually realized a mutual benefit situation of both inheritance protection and poverty alleviation.