The Longwan Lake Demonstration Zone for Rural Revitalization in Sishui county, Jining, Shandong province has turned its clear waters and lush mountains into invaluable assets through a new partnership mechanism to boost its tourism industry.
The rural partnership mechanism allows investors to join in various ways, including offering technological support and creative ideas, injecting capital, assisting investment attractions, and expanding platforms.
Under the mechanism, the zone has attracted 33 artists, business people and inheritors of intangible cultural heritage items and received 250 million yuan ($39.25 million) in investment to power the market-oriented operation of its tourism industry.
The 5,269-hectare zone consists of 18 villages with 12,255 residents and boasts a forest coverage rate of 54.7 percent and a water area of 500 hectares.
Empty rural houses have been renovated into creative cultural streets, artistic maker spaces, homestays and workshops, while unique cultural events revolving around local folk culture, such as willow weaving, traditional woodworking and Confucianism, are regularly organized.
Nine cultural and tourism projects, as well as six agricultural product processing companies have set up operations in the zone. The Longwan Lake Cultural Tourism Town received more than 500,000 visitors in 2020 and the output value of agricultural tourism activities like fruit and vegetable-picking has exceeded 6 million yuan.
Driven by the booming tourism industry, the zone's Nanzhongdu village rose from poverty in 2017 and built 74 greenhouses for tourists to pick fruits and vegetables in 2020. Each villager can receive a 1,500 yuan tourism bonus as well.
The living environment of local residents has also significantly improved, and new sewage treatment stations and roads have been built as supporting infrastructure for tourism projects.
The zone was included in the 2021 version of the World Tourism Alliance Best Practices of Rural Revitalization through Tourism, which was released in October by the WTA, World Bank Group and International Poverty Reduction Center in China.
In the future, the zone plans to extend its partnerships from individuals to universities and research institutes to further improve products, services and management.
It also aims to attract more than 60 new projects, cultivate over 300 new partners and create a minimum of 4,000 jobs in the next three years.