Across China: Photography tourism a new driver for rural revitalization in Anhui

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-17 16:33:29|Editor: Li Xia
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HEFEI, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- With late autumn approaching, numerous domestic and foreign photographers and tourists are flocking to Tachuan Village in the city of Huangshan, East China's Anhui Province to photograph the colorful autumn scenery.

Known as one of the four most beautiful autumn sceneries in China, Tachuan Village in Yi County has become a paradise for photographers.

"I heard the red autumn leaves here are perfect for shooting," Ren Jinlong, a photography enthusiast from the city of Wuhu, Anhui Province has tried several spots to take the best panoramic photos above Tachuan Village.

In recent years, Yi County has been rolling out favorable measures to develop a new model of rural tourism with photography. It has set up 23 "Best Photo Spots" where tourists can easily take beautiful pictures of the landscape and launched 25 photography themed tours such as Autumn of Tachuan and Hui-style Architecture, to support local photography tourism.

With two world cultural heritage villages of Xidi and Hongcun and many ancient Hui-style buildings of Ming and Qing Dynasties, Yi County has inherent tourism advantages.

Recently, a 5-day international country photography exhibition was held here, drawing more than 15,000 visitors worldwide.

The chilling cold of late autumn didn't deter the photographers. Apart from cameras with tripods set up in the village, the latest aerial photography using drones won't be absent from this landscape feast.

"The scenery of Tachuan is so beautiful. The drone can have a different view, just like an eagle," said Qin Song, founder of a drone club in Shanghai. This time, he took about ten club members for drone shooting in Yi County.

"The ancient houses, red leaves, mountains, and fog attracted us here. I feel so relaxed seeing the countryside," he said while operating the drone.

Besides those with professional equipment, the trail and observation deck is crowded with many tourists with phones and selfie sticks.

"The pursuit of beauty is not exclusive to professional photographers. Even a random snapshot on a phone can show the beautiful scenery here," said Zhang Yunxia who was taking a series of photos on the observation deck. "My daughter takes me here for the fresh air and fascinating scenery," she added.

Statistically, the number of tourists in Tachuan has increased year by year. In 2017, Tachuan received more than 170,000 visitors, an increase of 42% from 2016. One weekend during peak season this year, the village accommodated up to 6,680 tourists.

The burgeoning photography tourism has injected vitality into this ancient county and helped increase locals' income.

Jiang Huifen, 68, sells home-made food like dried vegetables and chilly sauce in Tachuan. The products sell like hotcakes and he usually sells out during the fall season. "I can earn more than 400 yuan per day in the peak season," Jiang said.

Jiang's daughter Hu Shuangfeng returned to Tachuan to open bed and breakfast (B&B) in 2016. The delicate house featuring regional characteristics and delicious local food has attracted tourists nationwide.

"Photography tourism has truly benefited the locals," she said. "The peak season used to be only during the photography festival, but now there are tourists all year round, and my B&B is always fully booked on the weekends." Last year, she mad more than 20,000 yuan from her B&B.

According to Hu, the beautiful sight and leisurely lifestyle here has driven many customers to return regularly. "Some come here for up to two weeks to experience the slow countryside life," she said. To better receive increasing tourists, Hu plans to expand her B&B.

Until now, more than 700 B&Bs have been opened in Yi County, and over 20,000 local people are engaged in travel-related occupations, about one-fourth of the total population.

"Though located in a mountainous area, Yi County is rich in cultural resources, which lays the foundation for photography tourism. The developing photography tourism has updated countryside tourism and enriched the lives of the locals," said Wu Xiaosheng, vice governor of Yi County.

"We will continue to expand the photography industry chain and promote the deep integration of photography and tourism," he said.