B&B market booms as tourists opt for alternative accommodation
lingnan Village in tonglu County, east China’s Zhejiang Province, has seen bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodations flourishing in recent years, with villagers and newcomers alike taking advantage of this promising business.
Zhu Zhenhua, from Zhejiang’s capital city Hangzhou, moved to a village with his wife in 2008. They rented a courtyard property and spent about 300,000 yuan ($46,154) on its renovation. As tourists came to the village and asked whether they could pay to stay in the house, Zhu turned it into a B&B business.
“Now we don’t want to go back to central Hangzhou,” Zhu said. “Living here is an ideal choice for us retired people, with fresh air and a peaceful life. We have a big house, and we can plant our own vegetables.”
“Many villagers have come to realize the value of their rural houses,” said Shentu Xiaoshan, a villager from Shen’ao Village in Tonglu.
Now B&B accommodations are common in the village, and some houses have even been renovated into cafés. “The once-empty village has become lively now,” Shentu said.
On May 31, the First China International B&B Development Forum was held in Tonglu. It was the first time China held an international forum on B&B and it attracted more than 500 B&B experts and business owners from around the world, sharing their experiences and opinions on the industry.
Tonglu was among the first counties in China to develop the rural economy based on B&B accommodation. Local government figures show that by the end of 2015, the county had a total of 8,119 beds in B&B establishments. In 2015 alone, the county received 2.67 million tourists, generating 170 million yuan ($27.4 million) for the local economy.
“The environment of the villages has improved very much,” Shentu said. “We have set up an advanced sewage disposal system, and the villagers are more concerned about sanitation, as it will affect the business.”
“We have our way to manage the B&B business in the village,” said Zhou Zhonglian, head of Huanxi Village. “We endorse a B&B owner as long as he or she can meet the requirements on sanitation, security, etc., and register the number of beds they have for guests. In peak seasons, we set up a database and help to arrange beds for tourists collectively.”