Strolling in the Tacun village, a small village in Xinjiang, who would think it was a national-level impoverished village some years ago.
Tacun, or Tagelake village in Wensu county of Aksu, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, is located at the foot of Tomur Peak- the highest peak of the Tianshan Mountains.
From a backward and impoverished little village, to the current "must-see" village in southern Xinjiang, the great changes only took over two years, with the secret code being village tourism.
Thanks to the high altitude and agreeable climate, the temperature here is about 15 C lower than the urban area average, making it an ideal place for tourists to enjoy peace and tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of the city life.
The construction of a series of creative and impressive facilities such as glass walkways, "dinosaur" park, train-themed inns has made the Tacun village undergone a magnificent transformation. In 2020, the once seriously-impoverished village shook off poverty.
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic in 2020, the social, ecological and economic benefits were still significant in the village.
Last year, more than 600 farmers and herdsmen's income improved, over 150 jobs for villagers were created, benefiting more than 70 percent of the villagers, and their per capita income increased by more than 20,000 yuan ($3,092).
Mamat Tursun used to work as a herdsman. He had to drive his sheep up the mountain to graze at dawn every day and was unable to go home until the sunset. Due to the threatening factors to animal husbandry such as wolves' attack and livestock diseases, Mamat's livelihood was hardly guaranteed.
In the last two years, when he saw tourists flocking to the village and his neighbors starting to engage in tourism and earning good money, Mamat was intrigued.
In September 2019, he volunteered for job at the village. Knowing that he had learned to make nang, a traditional flatbread in Xinjiang, the person responsible for the village actively coordinated with him and set up a nang store next to an inn in the village. Since then, he and his wife have been selling nang to tourists. When it comes to tourism peak season, they are able to sell more than 500 nang and earn about 1,500 yuan each day.
"I have turned my house into homestay for tourists now, and I'm able to earn more than 10,000 yuan from this every year," said Mamat. "With the income coming from the house and selling nang, I earn much more than herding sheep."
"Since the beginning of the year, the village has received 196,500 tourists and earned more than 27.4 million yuan from tourism alone, which is quite remarkable," said Yang Han, secretary of the Bureau of Culture and Tourism of Wensu county.
"Moving forward, we are ready to apply 5A-rated scenic spots for the village and the neighboring scenic spots," Yang said. "I believe our villagers will benefit more from tourism and more villagers will voluntarily join us."