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Natural assets used to attract flocks of tourists

By Yuan Shenggao ( China Daily )

Updated: 2018-12-28

Wuping county in Fujian province is treading its own path to green development by combining environmental sustainability with tourism and economic development.

While the county has recently been ranked among the top 10 counties in Fujian province in terms of economic performance, it has long been famed for its scenery, where Liangye Mountain, Huangcao Mountain and Zhongshanhe national wetland park offer wooded mountains, towering waterfalls, herds of oxen and flocks of sheep.

Its forest coverage is 79.7 percent, enough to spark local timber industry gains. For example, a 9.53-hectare area of forest worked upon by 29,900 households yielded produce valued at 2.77 billion yuan ($401 million) in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 14.2 percent. Some 97 cooperatives were set up to help lift people out of poverty.

Wuping has come a long way in repairing its ecosystem. It designed and carried out projects on water conservation, sewage treatment and reforestation. In 2017, Wuping had 335 days of good air quality, which earned it the reputation of China's first "Natural Oxygen Bar" in Fujian.

Cai Dongyang, executive deputy head of the county, said that Wuping has been promoting its green tourism. In 2017, Wuping received 2.07 million tourists, up 21.6 percent compared with 2016, and they brought 1.93 billion yuan to the county.

In Songhua village, tea shop owner Wei Liyun came up with new ideas combining tourism and tea-related products to attract more visitors and increase revenue. Some 40,000 people visited her tea shop last year, bringing her 1 million yuan in annual revenue.

Taoxi town is another example in the county that shows how to integrate tea, flowers and scenery into one themed tourism spot.

Wuping is looking to upgrade Liangye Mountain to a national 5-A tourism attraction, the highest level in China's scenic area rating system, and is eyeing multiple spinoffs for the tourism sector.

The manufacturing industry in Wuping is service-oriented, said Shi Zhongfang, director of the county's development and reform commission, adding that local manufacturers offer businesses in other provinces services in energy saving and emission reduction.

"Wuping moves closer to its goal of building a stronger industrial center and of seeing a double-digit growth made by companies," Shi said.

This year, more than 20 environmentally friendly enterprises have been set up in Wuping. The county is advancing 100 key projects worth 37.18 billion yuan at county, municipal and provincial governmental levels. It is now more involved in the construction of the neighboring Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the economic cooperation among the regions in the southwest of the province.

Natural assets used to attract flocks of tourists

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