Dis­cern­ing­trav­el­ers

B&B mar­ket booms as tourists opt for al­ter­na­tive ac­com­mo­da­tion

ChinAfrica - - China Report - By Yuan Yuan

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.”

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