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Yuhu's road to prosperity by rural tourism

Updated:2022-05-24 11:05:59   Yunnan Tourism and Culture Times

Editor's note: Located at the foot of the Jade-Dragon Snow Mountain, Yuhu is an ancient village with the Naxi traditions. Thanks to eco-protection, Yuhu began to develop rural tourism by organizing horse rides for seeing the snow-capped mountains, which was welcomed by tourists. The economic benefits brought by cultural tourism strengthened villagers' awareness in protecting nature and ecology, resulting in ecological beauty and rural prosperity at the same time.

Yuhu's road to prosperity by rural tourism

As an ancient Naxi village with well-preserved architectures, the Yuhu village is located at the foot of Jade-Dragon Snow Mountain of the Yulong Naxi autonomous county, northwest Yunnan’s Lijiang city.

The village in summer looks vibrant. The Naxi dwellings built out of volcanic rocks are hidden among red flowers and lush woods, and the stone-paved roads with century-old traces extend into the distance.

"Every time I hear tourists say that Yuhu Lake is beautiful, I am really proud and happy," said He Jielin, a Naxi villager who runs Diyiju Homestay. When we met him, He was cleaning his Naxi family museum.

As a native of Yuhu village, He Jielin knows that the rural beauty is hard-won.

Due to the high altitude and barren land, Yuhu was once a poorest village in Yulong county. To make a living, some villagers felled trees and dug gold mines in the mountains, with the ecology almost destroyed. In view of the pities, local government decisively made a change. By granting eco-compensation to the villagers, they were turned either from former tree cutters into forest guards, or from mine diggers into hill keepers.

Thanks to joint efforts, the eco-beauty featuring trees, flowers, birds and insects has returned to the village.

Villagers saw the business opportunities in the lush hills and lucid waters, so they developed the tourism industry in the village. In 2004, Yuhu farmers established a rural tourism cooperative, and the families with horse were organized. The tourist route of "Locke's Footsteps into Yulong Snow Mountain" was developed, and the horseback sightseeing was carried out, gaining popularity among tourists.

With the initial success, Yuhu villagers care more about the protection of ecology, focusing on improvement in rural surroundings and cleaning-ups. They invested more than 40 million yuan in roads and sewage pipe networks, and the village now looks much better. At the same time, they carefully renovated the Naxi architectures in the ancient village, with the historic buildings either repaired or upgraded. Parking lots were built up, and the roads are coupled with solar lamps and ornamental trees.

Bit by bit, the beauty of Yuhu has been constantly highlighted. In recent years, the village has won the honors of "Chinese Minority Village" and "Traditional Chinese Village", and the villagers' sense of happiness has been enhanced.

"These years saw great changes." He Jielin said the beautiful village has invited in more tourists, and he opened a homestay to display Naxi folk customs, costumes and food culture, earning an maximum of 180,000 yuan per year.

In Today's Yuhu village, everyone is a eco-protector, and all are participants in rural tourism. As of last year, the village received more than 100,000 tourists, the gross tourism income exceeded 10 million yuan, and the per capita net income of farmers reached 15,000 yuan. Everyone is enjoying the ecological beauty and rural prosperity. 

Reporting by He Qian; Trans-editing by Wang Shixue 

Keywords:   Yuhu rural tourism