The eastern province of Zhejiang has made full use of its cultural and tourism resources and has taken exploratory steps to achieve higher-quality development and common prosperity in recent years.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published some results and experiences of Zhejiang's vitalization of its countryside through tourism development and narrowing the gap between urban and rural areas by transforming intangible cultural heritage into economic benefits.
In November 2021, the ministry, together with the province, released a five-year action plan to help build Zhejiang into a culture and tourism power by 2025, and make these practices useful reference points for other provinces and regions to follow on the path to common prosperity.
According to the results published by the ministry, the province has built cultural services stations within walking distance of residents' homes and workplaces, set up intangible cultural heritage workshops to promote local employment, and vitalized the countryside through tourism and cultural development.
By June this year, Zhejiang had established about 11,730 cultural circles to give residents easier and quicker access to places such as libraries and cultural centers located within a 15-minute walk.
By August, the province had also established 87 provincial-level intangible cultural heritage workshops, 131 at the city level and 841 in the counties. These workshops have generated revenue of about 5.31 billion yuan ($740 million) and have helped create 163,700 jobs.
Some intangible cultural heritage skills such as bamboo weaving and shell carving have been better protected through these practices.
A provincial-level shell-carving workshop in the coastal city of Wenzhou, for example, has obtained over 200 design patents and more than 10 intellectual property rights by advancing its carving skills.
Rural tourism has also performed well in recent years.
Huzhou has built up 62 villages with provincial government support to develop tourism and about 25 tourism towns, according to the ministry. The city generated 13 billion yuan in rural tourism revenue, last year, with 75 villages each seeing revenue of over 1.6 million yuan.
In 2021, Huzhou's Yucun village was named a joint winner of the World Tourism Organization's "Best Tourism Village" because of its "innovative and transformative actions and commitment to the development of tourism in line with the Sustainable Development Goals".
Xiajiang village in Hangzhou won the title of "Best Tourism Village" from the WTO in October.
Wu Jianfen, an official from the province's culture and tourism department, said at a recent forum that the success of Zhejiang's rural tourism development follows the idiom that "green is gold", and villages have made full use of their resources to attract not only travelers but also young people to vitalize rural development.