By Hou Liqiang || Updated: 2017-09-20 07:11
As the ecosystem improves in Nyingchi city, Tibet autonomous region, many villages have become more prosperous as a result of the local government's preferential policies for the development of tourism.
For example, Kyerpa, a settlement in Kongpo'gyada county, has seen the number of guesthouses rise to 31 this year from only three in 2006.
Last year, the village, located near Basum Lake, one of the nine holy lakes in the region, received 30,000 tourists.
About 20,000 visitors stayed in local guesthouses, which boast a combined 417 beds, generating income of 3 million yuan ($458,000), according to the village committee.
Before they opened a 16-bedroom guesthouse in 2013, Sangshi and her husband made about 30,000 yuan a year from a teashop they ran in the village. Now, their annual income has risen to 100,000 to 150,000 yuan.
Sangshi, who like many Tibetans only has one name, said the government helped her to open and upgrade the guesthouse. In 2012, she undertook a monthlong training course in Nyingchi. The government covered all the expenses for the course - which included cooking lessons and advice about running a guesthouse - including the cost of renting a room and a daily food allowance.
Sangshi said that the government also offered each guesthouse in the village more than 30,000 yuan to upgrade kitchens, toilets and bathrooms. In 2015, she received another month's free training to improve her knowledge of Mandarin and tourism services.
Palden Tsewang, deputy head of the Kongpo'gyada county tourism authority, said about 70 percent of tourists drive to the lake, and they usually choose to stay in guesthouses. This has helped to develop the villagers' businesses.
However, he said the simple furniture and other facilities provided by many of the guesthouses - where rooms usually cost about 180 yuan a night - often fail to meet the tourists' expectations.
The government plans to offer a subsidy of 100,000 yuan each to five families who plan to invest 200,000 yuan of their own money to upgrade their guesthouses. Following the improvements, the cost of a room will rise to 700 to 800 yuan a night.
The government intends to use the improvements to encourage other villagers to open guesthouses, according to Palden Tsewang, who said the authorities will offer interest-free loans to guesthouse owners who want to upgrade their facilities.
Ling Yuanli, an official in Norbu, a village in Nyingchi's Bayi district, said 49 of the 80 households have opened guesthouses that provide nearly 1,000 beds in total.