Ethnic tourism boosts Yunnan’s uplift

Xianrendong: “The development of rural tourism cannot come at the expense of [a place’s] essence. That is the traditional culture of the Yi people,” said Fan Chengyuan, head of Xianrendong, a village tucked away in southwest China’s Yunnan Province.
Xianrendong, which means “fairy cave” in Chinese, was plagued by extreme poverty for a very long time. In the 1990s, it was nicknamed the “Pocket Village” because of people’s dire living conditions. Villagers largely relied on growing crops and fishing for a living and their average annual income was only 300 yuan (44 U.S. dollars) – approximately one-eighth of the national poverty line which is 2,300 yuan (339 U.S. dollars).
Things have changed since. In 2019, per capita income jumped to 40,000 yuan (5,902 U.S. dollars) on average, making the village the richest in Qiubei County.
The nearby scenic spot of Puzhehei first started developing its tourism sector in the 1990s. As changes began to set in, people in the surrounding villages slowly started to see tourism as a viable method for escaping poverty as well.
Home to 196 households, Xianrendong is inhabited by Yi people – one of the largest ethnic minority groups in China. It also boasts clear lakes and lush vegetation, offering abundant tourism resources.
Seeing the potential business opportunity, Fan quit his previous job in the county and returned to the village in 2005. – Agencies