It bears the heavy responsibility of leading the development of the tourism industry and building a tourism distribution center in Xiangxi Prefecture. It also plays an key role in consolidating the achievements made in poverty alleviation and further promoting rural vitalization.
The canyon is magnificent and steep. Whether it is a bridge flying over the clouds or a miracle of poverty alleviation, it has made the ancient Miao village famous, and the Miao people who have lived here for generations still maintain that innocence.
The scenic area is composed of Aizhai Wonders Tourist Area in Jishou City, and Shibadong Village in Huayuan County. The two areas are closely connected, forming a tourist destination that integrates karst landform, humanity culture and technology, folk customs and Red education.
Among them, the Aizhai Wonders Tourist Area includes the Aizhai Bridge and the Dehang Scenic Area. Its history can be traced back to 1987, when the domestic tourism industry was still in its infancy, and the launch of Dehang Scenic Area sparked a strong response.
According to data, Dehang Scenic Area was approved as a provincial scenic area in 1991 and successfully declared as a national key scenic area in 2005.
At the beginning of the 21st century, Dehang, located at the junction of Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang County, carried out in-depth tourism cooperation with Zhangjiajie. “At that time, the mountains of Zhangjiajie, the water of Mengdong River, the folk customs of Dehang, and the purity of Fenghuang County became important fulcrums for the tourism layout of Western Hunan,” Wen Liang, an official of the Dehang Scenic Area Management Office in Jishou City, said.
In 2013, the Aizhai Bridge was completed and put into operation. The important concept of “targeted poverty alleviation” was put forward in Shibadong Village at the same year.
In 2021, the Aizhai Wonders Tourist Area and Shibadong Village were jointly awarded national 5A scenic areas. The two major landmarks work together to develop the tourism industry.
In May 2013, Lu Jinzhu, a villager from Xingfu Village, Aizhai Town, Jishou City, returned to her hometown with her husband and became one of the earliest employees of the newly-established Aizhai Wonders Tourist Area, experiencing the opportunities brought by tourism development firsthand.
The scenic area guided 5 surrounding villages to establish a human resources company and provided job opportunities for villagers. Now, over 80% of the employees in the scenic area are local residents.
“In the past, young people in the village had to work as farmers or go outside to work. Now, we can work at our doorstep with lower expenses and take care of family members.” The changes of the hometown made Lu Jinzhu deeply moved.
It used to be a 3-hour steep mountain road from Tianwen Viewing Platform to Dehang Miao Village, but now it only takes 20 minutes by taking sightseeing vehicles.
The national road, which used to be bumpy with traffic, is now wide and flat, with tourist buses running every ten minutes and transportation being very convenient. “Moreover, rural infrastructure has improved and villagers’ spirit has changed,” said Lu Jinzhu.
Tremendous changes have taken place in Shibadong Village. The previous poor Miao village now has taken on a new look. Villagers work in the scenic area, and tourists come in droves. Shibadong’s kiwifruit, camellia oil and other products are sold all around the country.