No place like homestay as rustic approach pays off

By Yang Feiyue (China Daily) Updated : 2020-08-26


Shuikou village of Zhejiang province has been a favorite destination of urban travelers to the Yangtze River Delta region, with its fresh food, greenery and outdoor activities. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Homestay owner Zheng Yunfang has been busy answering customers' calls, taking down their information, while checking the booking status of her hostelry since early August.

"Our 18 guest rooms were fully booked over the past few weeks, and we've received bookings up to November," says Zheng, in her 50s, who runs Ziming Mountain Villa in Shuikou village, East China's Zhejiang province.

Most of her guests have been to her place before, and they often bring in new guests during their visits, Zheng says. "By the look of things, business shouldn't be a problem in the second half of the year."

As cross-provincial tourism has resumed nationwide, locals in Shuikou are back in business and looking forward to a full recovery of the local tourism industry.

Just walking distance away from Zheng's villa, another local homestay owner, Song Chaofeng, in his 30s, has begun receiving visitors as well.

He is starting to reap the reward of an earlier promotion of his homestay on the short-video app Douyin, also known as TikTok. As an experiment, Song made a video featuring local food and landscapes earlier this year and uploaded it online after a bit of simple editing.

"It was a total surprise that several thousand people watched it the next day," Song says.

Tourist Qi Jia, in her 30s, recently visited Song's place with her family after flipping through Song's Douyin account.

"My child loves playing table tennis here, and my parents love the distinctive rural-style breakfast, with fresh and nutritious food that is picked right from the field," says the traveler from Shanghai. "It feels right to come here."

At the moment, Song says he will focus on maintaining the quality of his homestay operations and updating his fans online on the latest developments.

"Hopefully, they can all come here and experience what we have to offer," Song says.

Shuikou village is home to 10,000 residents, and about 30 percent of them are engaged in the homestay business. The village has evolved into one of the major rural tourism destinations in the Yangtze River Delta region over the years.

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