Zhang Tingzhen, a woman of
Miao nationality in southwest China's Guizhou Province, has brought her family out
of poverty by selling embroidery to tourists from both home and abroad.
She learnt how to embroider from her mother during her childhood and later
became famous in her hometown for the novel design and exquisite workmanship of
"The embroidery was not for sale in the past. Girls either presented their
creations to boy friends or decorated themselves," she said.
"When my hometown became a tourist attraction in the early 1990s, I began to
sell embroidery to tourists. Afterwards, I opened a private embroidery factory,
which gained a net profit of more than 100,000 yuan last year. Some products
were exported," she said.
Gao Shunli, an official with the National Tourism Administration, said the
development of tourism has proven to be an effective way for helping people in
underdeveloped western China relieve themselves of poverty.
Southwest China, which comprises Chongqing Municipality, Guangxi Zhuang
Autonomous Region and Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces, has 34 parks which
are world famous.
"Nevertheless, beautiful scenery and unique ethnic culture are coupled with
underdevelopment and poverty," said Yang Shengming, director of the Guizhou Provincial Tourism Bureau.
Guizhou's Taijiang County, where Zhang Tingzhen lives, is home to the Miao
Since the county was designated as a tourist destination in the 1980s, local
people have improved their living standards by opening restaurants, selling
souvenirs and providing ferry and jampan services.
So far, almost one million people in Yunnan and Guizhou provinces have been
lifted above the poverty line as a result of the development of tourism.
Northwest China's Gansu Province has opened a number of new tourist routes
along the ancient Silk Road and Yellow River. The move has created
opportunities for tens of thousands of farmers in the region to increase their
Xihaigu Prefecture, one of the poorest areas in China, has invested seven
million yuan to build Liupanshan scenic zone over 110 square kilometers.
Tourism is a key part of China's strategy to develop its western regions and
Statistics show that
western China attracts one third of the total visitors to China. Guizhou
Province gained 4.83 billion yuan in tourist receipts last year, up 23 percent
over the previous year. The tourist receipts of Yunnan exceeded 20 billion yuan
An estimated four million people living under the poverty line in western China
have benefited from the tourism industry, said Sun Gang, deputy director of the
National Tourism Administration.