The Ministry of Culture and Tourism recently launched 143 high-quality rural tourism routes across the country.
The aim of the routes is to further meet increasing summer travel demands and enable the public to experience the poetic and picturesque life in the countryside.
The ministry also said it hopes the routes will promote the deep integration of rural culture and tourism, allow tourists to better appreciate the unique charm and contemporary style of agricultural civilization, and provide opportunities for young people to foster a deeper connection with their homeland.
The routes revolve around three themes: returning to the simplicity of farming, embracing the fragrance of tea, and poetic dwellings.
They cover distinctive traditional villages and have integrated local agricultural activities, intangible cultural heritages and historical relics, according to the ministry.
The routes themed on the simplicity of farming primarily feature agricultural heritage, irrigation engineering sites, agricultural experience activities, and rural social research opportunities. They take young people to farming projects that have existed for more than 1,000 years in Jiangxi province, and help them appreciate nature's bounty through a fishing trip to the coast of Jiangsu province.
An immersion experience of traditional rural education has been prepared at a history and culture block in Hebei province that was named after Yan Yangchu (1893-1990), a Chinese educator and organizer known for his work in mass literacy and rural reconstruction.
Visitors can get their hands dirty and engage in farming in Shaanxi province.
In the fragrance of tea routes, visitors can explore plantations and fairs at the country's major tea production areas, including Zhejiang, Fujian and Sichuan provinces. Highlights include watching tea production and processing, savoring a variety of tea, exploring historical tea trade routes and staying in tea-themed homestays.
The poetic dwelling routes take visitors to the heart of ancient villages in Shanxi, Shandong and Fujian provinces and enable them to soak up the pastoral charm through interactions with local residents. They will have the chance to learn about the positive changes happening in these areas, and they can enjoy folk performances and visit museums during their trips.
Some of the routes can be viewed on the website of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
More will be promoted through official channels, media and market platforms.
Li Zhenni, director of the rural vitalization center of the research institute at major online travel agency Trip.com, believes the move will further incentivize rural tourism development.
The agency rolled out its own rural tourism strategy in 2021, when the country first launched 300 rural tour routes, allowing tourists to take a closer look at the country's poverty elimination achievements and aid rural vitalization efforts.
"Our country's rural areas have already overcome bottlenecks in transportation and infrastructure construction, and rural areas possess excellent tourism resources," Li said.
Trip.com has so far developed more than 20 rural resorts to cater to the rising demands of travelers across 11 provincial level regions, including the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and the provinces of Anhui, Henan, Hunan, Fujian and Shaanxi, according to the agency.
The homestays embody the theme of integrating local rural features and local intangible cultural heritage.
"They provide an authentic experience for rural tourism," Li said.
"Rural tourism is a golden key for rural vitalization. Rural economic development can be promoted through leveraging rural tourism … while high-end homestays can be an effective way to promote the high-quality development of rural tourism."
The country's improving rural conditions have drawn in increasing visitors.
The number of tourists visiting rural areas in China reached 867 million in the first five months of 2021, representing a year-on-year growth of 55.5 percent, according to the China Tourism Academy.
Zhou Weihong, deputy manager of the Spring Tour travel agency in Shanghai, said that the vigorous development of rural tourism could not only meet the current tourism consumption needs of urban and rural residents — bringing joy to their bodies and minds through contact with nature and local customs — but it could also help increase farmers' incomes and sustainably solidify and expand the nation's rural vitalization achievements.
Cheng Chaogong, chief researcher from the research institute of Tongcheng Travel in Jiangsu, said the increase in high-quality rural tourism products can help fulfill the leisure and vacation needs of urban residents and promote the transfer of urban consumption to rural areas.