This is a little town with zero tolerance to plastic greenhouses. For years, Gasa town in Xinping County focuses on developing tourism and protecting its natural garden scenery, saying “No” to high productivity of plastic greenhouse. Large paddy fields and tropical fruit gardens rare in other rural places is easy to be found here. Owning two famous tourism brands--Huayaodai Ethnic Culture and Ailaoshan Mountain Scenery, Gasa will explore its own way of rural tourism featured in ecological agriculture and folk customs.
Traditional way of planting is a natural beauty in Gasa, indicating a firm “No” to plastic greenhouses.
Tourists are indulging themselves in tasty food and beautiful garden view in Jinhao.
The natural beauty of large paddy fields
A couple in Gasa opened a farmhouse restaurant named “Jinhao” in 2010, and very soon it became huge, far beyond their expectation. With a rough income of RMB 800 thousands annually, they paid off their mortgage in three and half years and purchased a nice car. The key to their success lies in rural tourism featured with Dai food. Local ingredients like dry eel, salted duck egg, river fish, first-of-the-season potherb, etc., and unique dinning environment with open views of paddy fields and mango trees, attract people to come here over and over again. Everything is so releasing and beautiful that most guests would like to take photos here.
In recent years, when other rural places develop agriculture with greenhouse facilities vigorously, Gasa sticks to the objective of “tourism town”, and says “no” to plastic greenhouses firmly. Beautiful rural scenery stays in this little town thanks to its insistence for so many years. Now, farmers here still can make money and live a good life because Gasa has its own way of rural tourism featured in ecological agriculture and folk customs.
Effort on Preserving Natural Scenery
At the beginning of 2015，several flower merchants came to Manli Village in Gasa and signed a lease with the farmers, planing to cultivate flowers for fresh-cut, which will double farmers’ income. However, this never worked out because they brought plastic greenhouses. Farmers and local government share the same view of “ No plastic greenhouse here”. For those flower merchants, it was a very first time to run into such a “plastic greenhouse issue”, but they understood eventually and gave up on their plastic greenhouse plan. “We are not too blind to see that the lease is a good bargain for us, but with plastic greenhouses coming in, the natural beauty of our village will be ruined and so will rural tourism here. So we’d rather give up personal interest than giving up the promise of “No plastic greenhouse”.
Plastic greenhouse can’t even be seen in high and cold mountain areas. According to Xinping’s plan of developing agriculture featured in plateau characteristics, priority is given to planting sugar cane and bamboo in mid-levels mountain areas and planting economic trees such as walnut in high altitude area, in hopes of making better profit for farmers and integrating natural landscape of Ailaoshan Mountain.
Gasa, a little town located in the middle of Ailaoshan Mountain area, with a river under the same name from northeast to southwest, is where you can enjoy both Ailaoshan Mountain scenery and Huayaodai culture. According to it’s objective of “No.1 Tourism Town” , Gasa made a plan to attract self-driving travelers. Therefore, protecting the beautiful pastoral scenery as part of the ecological landscape construction is under going at the same time as infrastructure construction.
Effort on enriching rural tourism
How do farmers make a good living while preserving this beautiful garden scenery? The answer is rural tourism. Ailaoshan Mountain scenery and Huayaodai culture are playing important role here,with great potential to support further development of rural tourism.
Huayaodai people live Honghe Vally area in Gasa from generation to generation. So apart from its garden scenery and natural beauty, Huayaodai culture is also presentable. “We are doing our best to enrich rural tourism here by presenting important and valuable Huayaodai culture under the guidance of Gasa government.” Yu Jun from local government addressed.
How to put minority culture into rural tourism? A short-cut for that is investment promotion. Big companies with strength and experience will do well in minority culture packaging and marketing. One successful case is Zhongheng.
Zhongheng Company carried out two projects here, a industrial park with demonstration of Yi culture and a village of original ecological Huayaodai culture, including a bar street, an ethnical culture school and a betelnut avenue. Zhongheng Company also built a show with local songs and dances and local performers, presenting Huayaodai culture and customs of working and wedding. While enjoying the show, tourists can have a good taste of local food as well.
At the mean time, local government also encourage farmers to find ways to demonstrate themselves. Gasa is trying its very best to protect its ecological environment and beautify houses in villages such as Manli, Pingzhai, Mamwa etc.. Apart from working on new looks and sanity in those villages, promoting ethic wearings is also important. 95% of the workers here in tourism industry are wearing Huayaodai dresses, creating an atmosphere for tourists to feel the culture.