Tourists keen to try life as a farmer on the grassland

Xinhua
Farmers in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region are increasing their earnings by running guesthouses and welcoming visitors to the grasslands.
Xinhua

Farmers in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region are increasing their earnings by running guesthouses and welcoming visitors to the grasslands.

Bayaer, 54, received a tourist group at his farm in Ewenki Autonomous Banner during the recent National Day holiday.

“I earned around 50,000 yuan (US$7,520) during the holiday period,” he said.

In 2015, Bayaer built three apartments on his property and started his tourism business. Each apartment is around 80 square meters, with two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bathroom, and can accommodate two to four people.

An increasing number of tourists visit the region each year, he said. His guests want to experience the unique grassland lifestyle, so he has decorated the apartments with traditional furniture but also equipped them with modern electric appliances. Guests can enjoy the beauty of grasslands right outside their door.

“They want to truly experience farmer’s lives, so they choose to stay on the grassland, cook and interact with farmers. It is the most direct way to learn how farmers live,” said Bayaer, whose family earns at least 100,000 yuan a year through tourism.

Before 2015, their annual income was a mere 40,000 yuan, which came mainly from cattle and sheep.

Bayaer said the extra income is primarily spent on buying horses. As an Inner Mongolian who grew up riding he is now obsessed with rearing horses. His house contains a display of horse photos and horse riding equipment.

“My grandfather made my first saddle for me when I was 5,” Bayaer recalled. His father taught him to ride when he was 6. “We always rode horses at that time,” he added.

But although he now has more than 100 horses, he rarely rides. His main form of transport is his SUV.

“Many people want to buy my horses, but I’m unwilling to sell them,” Bayaer said.

He changed the focus of his farming business last year; he now processes and sells mare milk, rents out his horses for ceremonies, weddings, photographers and tourists, and is involved in horse racing.

“Breeding horses has developed into an important industry in Xilin Gol League in recent years. I have learnt a lot from their experience, and am trying to use it as a means to become wealthy as well,” he said. He plans to start a cooperative to develop the industry and raise the incomes of more farmers. 



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