The current figure is 80,000 tourists per year coming to Nanling. This is quite suprising as the facilities are small scale - the hotel, 3 tourist restaurants (supported by the development company), and the village, with small farms, a food market, 4 street restaurants and hardware/food shops. Tourism is the chosen strategy of the development company with ambitions for visitor numbers to grow to 300,000 in 10 years.

We are based in the only hotel here giving us the chance to observe the comings and goings of this emerging economic force. Two professors from Gwangzhou have come to run a monthly embroidery night class at the library. Two young journalists also from Gwangzhou are here writing a report on the regeneration of the forest after a devastating freak winter snowstorm, a tragedy that snapped nearly every tree. Today is May Day and a public holiday, which brought a new intake of city families last night. I spotted one group wondering rather nervously around the square, looking unsure of what was there for them whilst wearing England rugby shirts.

If it is to succeed as a tourist destination the village will have to change. The sophisticated hotel, smarter restaurants and city visitors juxtaposed with the rough poverty is an awkward combination for both sides, feeling the injustice of inequality looking you right in the eye. Perhaps the trouble here is it feels like the villagers, farmers, store holders and restaurateurs don't really benefit from the visitors. Can they afford to make changes to their businesses so that they attract the visiting middle classes? But more, where would they gain a savvy retailer insight when everything seems to be created out of necessity rather than choice or design or lifestyle.

The group talks through various successful models of tourism. Farm-work/stay visits, unique accommodation, extreme sports set in beautiful landscapes and 'packaging'. I feel like we've ¬become business consultants. Adam conveys his experience of tourism and the Lake District to various people we meet. Their eyes light up at the visitor numbers, but it is hard to make any meaningful expression of the other side of things, the dark side of tourism that may bring an end to the wonderful things here.


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