Southwest China's Sichuan Province plans to train over 2,000 locals from rural areas as tourism experts in 2018.
The provincial government has allocated 11 million yuan (1.7 million U.S. dollars) from this year's tourism development fund for the training program, aiming to promote tourism as a boost for the rural economy and help lift the rural population out of poverty.
About 180 farmers, technicians and businessmen attended the first session of the seven-day training that started Tuesday in Mianzhu city. Government officials, university scholars and business experts were invited to teach tourism planning, catering, environmental protection and other tourism related courses on the training program.
"It broadened our horizon and changed our way of thinking on rural tourism," said Zhou Xiaobo, an official of Jiulong township, Mianyang city. "We start thinking about how to introduce the concepts of Artificial Intelligence and Internet into traditional rural tourism."
The remaining 19 training programs will be held later this year in different cities.
Rural tourism has seen robust growth in Sichuan during recent years as more city-dwellers look for a taste of the country life. And it has played a significant role in promoting rural economic development.
In 2017, the total revenue of rural tourism in Sichuan reached 228.3 billion yuan, an increase of 13.3 percent year on year.
According to the China National Tourism Administration, the country aims to lift 12 million people out of poverty through tourism from 2016 to 2020.