Scenery along the 318 (II): cultural tourism as wings for development

2018-01-10 09:12:30 | From:China Tibet Online

Editor's note: The Sichuan-Tibet Plateau, a beautiful region that reaches toward the heavens, is a place showered with blue skies, covered in white clouds, and dotted with snow-covered mountains, but recently, something truly remarkable has been materializing among the households that call this place home. A groundbreaking historic change has been reshaping the land and its people. From today on, we will publish a series of stories to tell you those changes. 


Jiezhu Village is an important town known as "the first post on the Ancient Tea Horse Road in Kham". The region has preserved numerous sites along the Ancient Tea Horse Road over the years, and it has a long history of that culture, with well-preserved folk buildings and customs. In 2004, Wen Chengyu, the famous archeologist and former director of the Longmen Grottoes Research Institute, went to Xi'eluo Township and was surprised to discover the abundant amount of tourist-inviting potential. In the Guogangding Yuan Dynasty monastery cellar, a large collection of ninth-century ceramic figurines had been found. Sun Lake and Moon Lake are also embedded within the flowering prairie, with one lake appearing as a crescent, and the other like the rising sun. Then there are more than 30 sites with ancient buildings that have been found scattered throughout central Guogangding, with some also in the eastern areas. Then there is the mind-boggling "map of China" from corresponding natural formations, which is just utterly amazing to witness.


In April 2005, China's Trademark Office approved the application of the local "village of  Khampa men" trademark due to the fact that residents typically have strong physiques, are a bit wild and bold in nature, are chiseled in appearance, and sport unique headwear. A man's headdress can weigh more than 20 metric pounds (22 imperial pounds), with most of them being more than 1.85 meters (6 feet) in height and some even reaching as high as 1.95 meters (6.4 feet). These well-dressed men have a somewhat wild yet heroic spirit about them, and they first showed themselves to the public at the Four-Province-Wide Kham Art Festival of Sichuan, Qinghai, Yunnan, and Xizang Autonomous Region (also called Tibet Autonomous Region) in 2004, having won the gold prize, but these cultural resources have not been exploited to their fullest extent. The Yibin support team then discovered a possibility. They began to work with the local people and cadre members to take their cultural heritages and use such resources as assets, with farmers becoming shareholders.


"In 2016, the villagers established the Jiezhu Village Mabang Professional Cooperative through a collection of shareholders. Tourists had access to 100 riding horses in Guogangding, and this alone brought the per capita income to an increase of more than 2,000 yuan (306.3 USD)," says Gonglong Tsepa, the cooperative's general director. It was at that time that the township government planted 100 mu (6.67 hectares, or 16.47 acres) in yu choy for tourists, 400 mu (26.67 hectares, or 65.89 acres) of the locally registered Kangqing No. 8 crop, and 46 vegetable greenhouses specifically catered to tourists, and this created nonstop business coming in from April to October. "Xi'eluo Township has been listed as part of the 13th five-year plan for national small towns with special characteristics and will be forged into a town bent towards recreational tourism. By then, there will be more tourists and our local villagers will become all the richer," Gonglong Tsepa confidently remarks.


The Chinese version of this story is written by Chen Chunlai and translated into English by Huang Wenjuan. And the story is sourced from the United Front Work Deparment of the Communist Party of China (CPC)Sichuan Provincial Committee.


Editor: Ana Wu


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