Global society and poverty reduction: tourism & sustainable economy

By Lolita Nikolova, World Culture Examiner
February 3rd, 2011 2:29 am ET

There are three main goals embedded in the global culture: eliminating hunger, and giving opportunity everybody to have a home and job (Home – Food – Job strategy). One of the forms to reduce poverty that has been developing in the world is developing of the domestic and international tourism in poor regions. Case study from China has been analyzed by Lucas Gutierrez Rodriguez, Manuel Ruiz Perez, Xiaosheng Yangand and Geriletu.

Anji County

Some data from the article recently published in Sustainability:

The increase in protected areas from 926 (7.6% of the national territory) to 2,531 (15.2% of the national territory) since 2000 has propelled the development of an ecotourism (shengtai lüyou) with its own characteristics that includes human health in relation to nature being transformed by people. This 'ecotourism' has brought many urban residents to rural areas, offering new development opportunities.

In Anji County, Zhejiang Province (Eastern China), the number of tourists grew from 150,000 in 1996 to 5,440,000 in 2009. In Daxi, the case-study village, per capita income increased from 273 CNY (US$ 182) in 1979 to 8,820 CNY (US$ 1,102) in 2006 [40]. Local authorities being aware of the environmental problems derived from the expansion of tourism have developed a number of planning proposals to control its negative effects.

Private car (54%) is the main form of transportation, followed by tour operator buses (29%). This is indicative of the relatively prosperous type of tourism, in accordance with the level of development of Eastern China. Fifty-six percent are first-time visitors, who tend to spend one night in a nongjiale (family hostels); 53% of all visitors come exclusively to Daxi, the remaining having also visited other nearby places.

Tourists visiting Daxi tend to stay for a short period, attracted by the scenic and cultural values (especially the beauty of its forests and bamboo plantations) but generally show little interest in outdoor, nature-related physical activities.

About the Moso bamboo (cultivated in Anji County plantations)

Bamboo has some positive aspects compared to wood (Vogtlander, Lugt, & Brezet 2010) - it can grow on slopes and other areas where foresting of wood is not possible, and it grows fast.
- it can replace tropical hardwood, so it can mitigate the decrease of tropical forest area.
- it can support the local economies in the third world.
- bamboo products have less eco-costs than tropical hardwood (FSC certified)
- bamboo products imported in Europe have more eco-costs than local European softwood.
- the yield of bamboo is high compared to most other wood species: the yield of bamboo for production of biofuel is extremely high.

Moso Bamboo, which contains high levels of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, ash, calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, b-carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and ascorbic acid, the leaves have been shown effective for arthritis, with the stem sheaths used for nausea and sour stomach.

CO2 BALANCE and Moso Bamboo

In various researches it has become clear that bamboo is an important and very fast CO2 'fixator'. This means that bamboo absorbs, during its growth and life until harvest, a relative big amount of CO2 from the air / atmosphere. After the harvest this CO2 will remain in the material and will only be released when this material is burnt.

The story of Meng Zong

Aside from the bamboo, there are gardens set amongst the groves, with the classical white bridges and flowing streams of Chinese design. One such garden opens out into a courtyard where a bamboo house stands. The roof is thatched with bamboo and the house is edged with banana plants. Under this tropical blue sky, I feel that I might be walking through a plantation.

There is a story here from ancient China about a man called Meng Zong. His mother was widowed and brought him up by herself. They lived in just such a hut in the bamboo forest together and were devoted to each other. One day Meng Zong came home to find his mother seriously ill and unable to eat anything. Day by day she got worse and Meng Zong was helpless. His mother begged him to make her some soup using fresh bamboo shoots, but it was mid-winter and there were no new shoots to be found. In despair, Meng Zong ran into the forest, sat amidst the bamboo and wept. Miraculously, from the place where his tears fell, new bamboo shoots began to grow. Overjoyed, he was able to take them home and make his mother some soup. After a few days of drinking the soup made from these unseasonably early shoots, his mother recovered. Henceforth, the two of them devoted their days to the care of bamboo.


Bamboo memories (2007). Retrieved from

Bamboo's surprosing medicinal use (n.d.). Retrieved from

Moso Bamboo and the environment (n.d.). Retrieved from

Rodriguez, L. G., Perez, M. R., Yang, X. & Geriletu (2011). From Farm to Rural Hostel: New Opportunities and Challenges Associated with Tourism Expansion in Daxi, a Village in Anji County, Zhejiang, China. Sustainability, 3, 306-321. Retrived from

Vogtlander, J., Lugt, P. van der, & Brezet, H. (2010). The sustainability of bamboo products for local and Western European applications. LCAs and land-use. Journal of Cleaner Production, 18, 13, 1260-1269.

Tags: Tourism, medicinal plants, Sustainable Economy

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