Weixi: traveling toward prosperity
A visitor stands outside the boutique hotel cofounded by He Xinhai and Liu Zhigang.[Photo by Yang Yang/China Daily]
He's not the only person who has returned to Tacheng to develop tourism.
In 1998, 20-year-old He Xinhai retired from the army and became a guide in Lijiang, where he saw how ordinary people benefited from booming tourism.
He dreamed that he would one day return to Tacheng to start travel businesses that would help his hometown prosper.
When he returned to Weixi five years later, He Xinhai was greeted with locals' doubts that he could succeed on such a remote and obscure mountain.
"But I couldn't give up because villagers of my parents' generation didn't attend school or master any skills. Even if they went to cities to work, nobody wanted them. If I gave up, people in my hometown would do nothing but continued struggling in poverty," He Xinhai says.
Many young people in Weixin leave for cities because they see no future in the mountains. But others have to stay.
So, He Xinhai hired residents who can't leave to work elsewhere, including 30 employees and 80 temporary workers.
Since 2015, 500 villagers have worked for him, earning incomes totaling nearly 2 million yuan.
Liu Jinying lost her husband in an accident in 1997. The 50-year-old ethnic Tibetan has since struggled to support her two sons by farming alone.
He Xinhai knew their house had collapsed and helped raise 200,000 yuan to build a new home for them. Now, Liu's two sons work for He Xinhai's mushroom company, and Liu works at his hotel. She says their family's life has improved a lot.