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Youth eyed to boost rural areas

Zhu Lixin
Updated: Aug 20,2015 9:22 AM     China Daily

Young talented people with innovative ideas are expected to boost rural tourism in China significantly in the next five years.

To upgrade the sector, authorities are planning to emphasize a full range of talent by increasing support for the development of tourism in country areas.

“Developing rural tourism is vital to the national economy, since it not only helps in the modernization of rural areas, but also counts greatly in the economic growth and upgrading of the countryside,” the head of the National Tourism Administration said on Aug 18.

Li Jinzao made the comments at a national tourism conference in Huangshan, Anhui province.

“China has 128,000 poverty-stricken rural villages, and half of these have the potential to develop tourism”, he said.

A State Council guideline pledges to attract more than 1 million migrant workers who have returned home, college graduates and professionals to invest in the rural tourism sector by providing them with favorable policies, including loans and training courses.

State-owned banks have pledged to provide financial support to investors in rural tourism development.

Agricultural Bank of China, one of the largest State-owned banks, has pledged to provide a loan of up to 100,000 yuan ($15,635) without proof of assets and a guaranteed loan of up to 3 million yuan to each individual applicant planning to invest in rural tourism development.

This is according to Zhao Zhongshi, the bank’s department chief in charge of agriculture, the countryside and farmers.

“Entities investing in infrastructure construction at rural tourism spots can get loans ... without any upper limits,” Zhao said, adding that the bank has approved a loan of more than 1 billion yuan for such a business.

Li said: “With more and more capital flowing in, a large number of talented people in the culture, arts and technology fields are expected to join rural tourism innovation efforts. They will bring to the sector more scientific planning, more innovative ideas and more-reasonable administration.”

On Aug 18, the administration granted awards to 20 business incubation centers nationwide working to combine modern business models with rural tourism.