The Shibadong Elementary School has been renovated into a modern school with a cafeteria and network equipment, with a collection of over 3,000 books.
Not long ago, the village awarded a scholarship of 24,000 yuan to 14 prospective college students. Ten years ago, there were only six college students in the village, while nowadays, more than ten students are admitted to university every year.
The improvement of transportation conditions, like the opening of Aizhai Bridge, Zhangjiajie-Jishou-Huaihua High-speed Railway, and Xiangxi Biancheng Airport, has brought new development opportunities to Shibadong Village. The village’s agricultural products can be sold to other places, and tourists can visit the Miao village. Shibadong Village is showing its charm of cultural tourism to the whole country and even the world.
Shibadong Village is located in the core area of Xiangxi UNESCO Global Geopark, with a terrain featuring mountains, forests, canyons, and karst caves, and an average elevation of 700 meters.
The Miao village amidst clouds and mist looks like a paradise. Miao songs are melodious, Miao drums are passionate, and Miao embroidery is lifelike. The well-preserved traditional ancient villages and characteristic ancient houses add some vitality to the tranquil and harmonious surrounding environment.
Shibadong Village has excellent ecological and cultural advantages, and is now exploring how to transform them into industrial advantages.
Numerous students visit Shibadong Village for study tour every year. Recently, the leader of IE international education at Hunan Jinhua International Travel Agency visited Shibadong Village to discuss study courses and sign a contract on site.
“We are exploring how to provide tourists with deep travel experiences,” said Gao Zhanghua, a marketing manager of Hunan Huayuan Shibadong Cultural Tourism Development Co., Ltd., adding that it is expected that 10,000 students will come here in batches for a three-day study tour, with eating, living and studying in Shibadong Village, listening to stories of poverty alleviation, and carrying out practice activities such as Miao embroidery and carpentry.
Shibadong Village has continued to improve the supporting facilities for tourism projects. Tourism channels, tourist centers, and targeted poverty alleviation exhibition halls have been gradually built.
At present, there are 5 ecological parking lots in Shibadong Village, which can accommodate 60 large buses and over 400 small cars. The scenic area can receive 5,000 people at most, with an instantaneous reception capacity of nearly 2,000 people.
The Miao village has become a national 5A-level scenic area, and villagers have started their own business, such as running companies, doing live streaming and opening agritainment. 398 people have achieved employment at their doorstep.
Red tourism and the green ecological industry are thriving. Shibadong Village has spared no efforts to promote the integration and development of agriculture, manufacturing, and service industries, so as to form a “tourism plus” industrial system including rural tourism, kiwi fruit, labor export, and mountain spring water.
Located on a cliff, the Earth Warehouse—Mobile Intelligent Ecological Hotel offers a unique and panoramic view of the village. This summer, the hotel was fully booked.
The kiwifruit base ushers in a bumper harvest. In 2014, villagers established a company with enterprises to develop the kiwifruit industry by transferring land of over 1,000 mu (about 66.67 hectares), so as to help local villagers to increase income.
The sweet and pure mountain spring water has helped boost income for villagers. At the mountain spring water plant, approximately 10,000 bottles of water can be produced per hour in a fully automated production line, generating an annual income of approximately 600,000 yuan for the village collective.
Based on natural conditions such as high mountains, dense forests, and shrouded clouds, Shibadong Village has developed characteristic industries such as golden tea and Ganoderma lucidum, and introduced cutting-edge technology and high-end processing equipment, to enhance the ability of developing the village collective economy.
The per capita annual income of villagers has increased from 1,668 yuan in 2013 to 23,505 yuan in 2022. The village collective economy has also grown from zero in the past to an annual income of 3.8 million yuan. Shibadong Village has stepped on the path of rural revitalization with its clean water and green mountains.
The industry of Shibadong Village is booming, but the uneven development among the four natural villages has become a new challenge.
Lizi Natural Village has received the largest number of tourists. For even development, Shibadong Village has carefully planned its layout.
The rural complex is located in Dangrong Natural Village. The main works of a connected building with ethnic characteristics has been completed, and construction workers are busy with interior decoration.
It integrates modern agriculture, cultural tourism, catering and accommodation, education and training, conferences and exhibitions, where the “Shibadong Rural Revitalization School” and “Shibadong Party School” have been set up.
“After the completion of the project, it can receive 50,000 Party members and cadres for training and 200,000 youths for study tour per year,” said Long Ke, first secretary of Shibadong Village, adding that the project can link the north and south Miao villages, attracting tourists from Lizi Natural Village, which will greatly enhance the comprehensive carrying capacity of the entire village.
In the Miao embroidery workshop of Feichong Natural Village, the embroiderers are engaged in embroidering, and the exquisite and unique Miao embroidery clothing, fans, jewelry, etc. are loved by tourists.
The Comprehensive Day Care Center and Cultural Square projects are under construction. A spacious stage, a comfortable leisure corridor, and an activity room with all functions will be built here.
“In the future, we can play Miao drums and hold bonfire parties at our doorstep. The added experience projects on the square can also attract tourists,” said a villager of Feichong Natural Village. She is full of expectations for the cultural square under construction.
Shibadong Village has developed projects such as wax dyeing, brewing, and agricultural culture in Zhuzi Natural Village to enhance tourists’ sense of participation.
The Batik Intangible Cultural Heritage Experience Hall, which officially opened in June this year, attracted a large number of tourists. The Zhuzizhai Ancient Brewing Experience Center is undergoing renovation on its original site.
To facilitate tourists’ travel, the village has renovated the ancient stone slab roads.
In today’s Shibadong Village, four natural villages are moving towards common prosperity and striving for a better life.