The capital of South China’s Hainan province and a popular tourism resort, Haikou is diversifying to offer niche tourism including agro-based, industrial and cultural tours.
An agro-tour offers visitors the chance to experience rural and agrarian life first hand. The most common type of agro-tour in China is called nongjiale, which literally means "happy farmhouse." It features farm stays for a short period with authentic local food usually the major selling point of the trip.
Within the city’s boundaries are a range of villages, new and old, along with picturesque natural scenery and well-kept cultural traditions. Agro-tours offer not only homestays but also well-designed trips to Haikou’s most unique sites.
The city also has some renowned enterprises that offer factory tours as an alternative, a trend that also encourages enterprises to put greater stress on corporate culture and image building, experts said.
The government of Haikou launched a public appraisal event on Oct. 28 to select the best villages and industrial sites.
It is open to all rural scenic areas, farmhouses and companies. Organizations can also make recommendations. A judging team of industry experts and the press will take field trips to each site.
An official from the city’s tourism commission said it is part of the city’s effort to explore new paths to growth in tourism.
Since 2012, Haikou has rolled out two lists of Top 10 Famous Villages, all with their own selling points.
The village cluster in Qiongshan district highlights historical remains from the country’s revolutionary era from the 1930s to 1940s. An ancient village in Xiuying district has a spectacular volcanic landscape.
Haikou now has 28 agro-tour sites welcoming more than 700,000 tourists every year.
In addition to the city’s abundant rural and industrial tourism resources, Haikou city itself has neighborhoods with their own unique culture.
Some historic streets in the city feature distinctive Qilou buildings, multi-story shophouses built by overseas Chinese returning from Southeast Asia some 100 years ago.
The city is restoring the old streets and has brought creative businesses including galleries, bookstores and artwork stores to the area.
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