Rugao gears up for all-for-one tourism
Tourists walk around Dongdajie historical site in Rugao, Nantong. [Photo/WeChat account: rugaofabu]
In recent years, Rugao, a county-level city in Nantong, has been seizing the opportunities brought about by the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region and made full use of its tourism resources, public services, and preferential policies to boost economic development, with tourism being the new primary engine for growth.
In 2019, the city received 15.85 million tourists, bringing in 19 billion yuan ($2.68 billion) in total, representing an increase of 18.22 percent and 21.45 percent respectively year on year. A tourism and culture festival and a rural tourism gala were held, effectively boosting the city's reputation.
"We are working to build tourist destination clusters consisting of tourist resorts and scenic spots with a rural flavor," said a spokesperson of the city's tourism and culture department.
Pingyuanchi village in the city's economic and technological development zone has attracted nearly 10,000 tourists every day during the summer with its 80 hectares of lotus flowers.
According to Liu Weijian, secretary of the village's Party committee, the collective annual income of the village was no more than 300,000 yuan a few years ago. Through the development of rural tourism, the figure surpassed 1.8 million yuan last year.
"Newly-built homestays are taking shape and the locals are expected to earn more this year," said Liu.
Last year, a folk culture park in Pingyuanchi was classified as a national 3A-level scenic area, Changjiang Medical Botanical Garden was approved as a provincial five-star rural tourism resort, and Guzhuang community also won provincial recognition for its advanced tourism industry.
Local officials said more villages will develop their tourism industry this year through the promotion of local specialties, longevity culture and canal culture.
The local government has also upgraded supporting facilities, including public toilets, parking lots and WIFI access points. A number of tourist buses have started operating, connecting major scenic spots with railway and bus stations.