Bai Ma is the proud co-owner of Bai Ma Family Hotel in Zha Xi Gang Village in Lulang Town of Tibet. The hotel hosts about 3 000 guests annually, generating about US$105, 000 that helps his family’s income.
But in this remote part of Nyinchi district people rely on farming and other small activities but Bai Ma and 38 other families are better off, thanks to tourism.
He got government support to partly fund construction of the hotel, a policy that empowers rural based small entrepreneurs in tourism sector.
And to ensure maximum benefits the hotel earnings are no taxed and that spares enough for the well being of families.
"Tourism is growing following improvement of infrastructure here by government and that is also increasing our income," Bai said.
The hotel design was inspired by Tibetan architecture and offers traditional services and food for tourists to feel Tibetan culture.
With an average elevation of 4, 000 meters Tibet is one of the highest regions in the world and home to 3 million people that hosts an estimated 20 million visitors annually.
That makes tourism one of the leading sectors in Tibet which boasts some of the world’s renowned historical sites like the Potala Palace in the capital Lhasa and the nearby Bhuda Temple that were built over 3 000 years ago.
A delegation of 27 African Journalists expressed admiration on how tourism trickles down benefits to the ordinary people through village tourism, direct employment and selling of souvenir at touristic sites- all these are noticeably prominent in China’s tourism.
Majority of Tibetans are farmers and nomads but according to Deputy Director General of Development and Reform Commission, Wang Niandong, Tibet strives to eliminate poverty by employing policies in the sectors to boost income.
(The author is a business and economics journalist with The Daily Times of Malawi)