Preserving a slice of heaven

Updated: 2016-11-09 07:49

By Wang Kaihao(China Daily)

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Preserving a slice of heaven

The Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, the most important Tibetan Buddhism monastery in Yunnan, is known as the Little Potala Palace. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"If villagers build new houses, we also demand that the architecture is harmonious with the environment of the whole village."

When more bars, karaoke and stores become common in China's traditional villages to attract visitors, rural tourism can become little more than an extension of urban entertainment.

"Tourism should appreciate the values of the countryside and treat them with respect," Liu Shouying, an economics professor at Renmin University of China in Beijing, told a recent rural tourism forum in Shangri-La. "Many tourism planners simply transplant what they have in cities to countryside, which leads to mushrooming real estate projects, which is harmful.

"It's crucial to find something unique in agrarian culture, like traditional craftsmanship, to offer different experiences for tourists," Liu says.

But rural tourism should avoid being overwhelmingly dependent on scenic spots, some professionals say.

Xiagei is the nearest village to Potatso National Park in Shangri-La. The park is renowned for its meadows, forests and lakes. Founded in 2006 as the first national park in the Chinese mainland, it is part of Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, a UNESCO World Heritage site.