HANGZHOU, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Rural tourism maintained robust growth in China last year as more city-dwellers prefer a taste of the country life during holidays, and governments hope the burgeoning sector will help relieve poverty.
Revenue from rural tourism surpassed 570 billion yuan (82.66 billion U.S. dollars) in 2016, up significantly from 440 billion yuan a year ago, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) said Tuesday during a meeting.
With some 2.1 billion trips made to the countryside last year, the rapidly growing sector created jobs for 6.72 million rural people, according to the MOA.
"Leisure agriculture and rural tourism are bracing for a precious growth opportunity. The demand will become stronger due to rising incomes and upgraded consumption," Agriculture Minister Han Changfu said when addressing the meeting.
China has been rolling out favorable measures to develop tourism for poor rural areas.
The National Tourism Administration signed agreements with two major banks last month to provide financial credit for impoverished counties to build tourist attractions. By 2020, those areas with scenic spots will have updated infrastructure and public service facilities.
The move is part of the country's strategy to eradicate poverty through the use of targeted and precise relief measures.
Rural tourism will increase farmers' incomes and improve agriculture, Han said.