BEIJING, July 18 (Xinhua) -- China has moved to promote development of rural tourism with increased investment and policy support as the government expects it to help relieve rural poverty and prop up the economy.
A total of 550 billion yuan (more than 80 billion U.S. dollars) will be pumped into the sector in 2017, according to an action plan released Tuesday by the National Development and Reform Commission and other government agencies.
It marked a substantial increase from less than 390 billion yuan last year.
With such huge investment, rural infrastructure and tourist services will be much improved, with better toilets, sewage treatment, garbage disposal, parking areas and visitor centers.
The participation of private capital was highlighted in the document, and financing models including public-private-partnership will be encouraged.
Villages will be encouraged to cooperate with online travel services providers, and financial support will be strengthened for small and medium-sized travel agencies.
The document predicts 2.5 billion trips to the countryside and 1.4 trillion yuan of rural tourism consumption this year, benefiting around 9 million rural households.
Rural tourism has seen robust growth in China during past years as more city-dwellers love a taste of the country life.
The government has been rolling out favorable measures to accelerate the development. The National Tourism Administration signed agreements with two major banks in March to provide financial credit for impoverished counties to build tourist attractions.