Development Policy of Leisure Agriculture and Rural Tourism in China

Development Policy of Leisure Agriculture and Rural Tourism in China

Published: 2017.12.08
Accepted: 2017.12.08
Assistant Professor
School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Renmin University of China


Leisure agriculture and rural tourism are new-type industrial forms of modern agriculture and modern tourism, and are important in promoting the construction of beautiful villages, and a vibrant and healthy China. Because of the improvement of income level for urban-rural residents, the transformation of consumption modes and increase of free time, the nation has entered an era of popularization of leisure tourism. In order to push forward the continuous healthy development of national leisure agriculture and rural tourism, in 2015, the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) made the best use of the circumstances, focusing on reformation and innovation of the construction of beautiful villages in the spirit of agricultural civilization, emphasizing the charm of beautiful farms on the basis of ecological agriculture. It used the approach of innovative creation and utilized the image of primitive, simple villages. Through investigation and research, demonstration building, brand cultivation, training and communication and promotion and generalization, the MoA vigorously promoted the integration of leisure agriculture and modern agriculture, beautiful countryside, ecological civilization and cultural creativity industries, pushed forward optimized industrial layout, quality improvement and expansion of field for leisure agriculture, and formed the new pattern of government guidance, multiple parties' participation, market operation and farmers’  benefits.


Strengthen investigation and research and create new policies

In order to put the spirit of 2015 Document No. 1 from the central government into implementation, the MoA organized experts to launch investigation and research. Based on the research of common problems that restrict industry development, the MOA met with 11 departments including the National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, and State Administration of Taxation, and co-issued a Notice on Actively Exploring Agriculture’s Multiple Functions and Vigorously Promoting the Development of Leisure Agriculture, which  further defined the overall requirement, main tasks and policy measures of leisure agriculture  development, put forward policies and measures in creative land use, enhance fiscal and taxation support, expand financing channels and boost public services. The MoA actively explored the multiple functions of agriculture, strongly promoted the development of leisure agriculture development, and vigorously pushed forward the integration of primary, second and tertiary industries in the countryside.

Carry out brand cultivation and create new highlights

The MoA organized and launched the promotion of China’s most beautiful leisure villages, the building of leisure agriculture star-level demonstration, the establishment of national leisure agriculture and rural tourism demonstration, and constantIy cultivated the national brand of leisure agriculture and rural tourism. In 2015, the MoA successively released 120 of China’s most beautiful leisure villages, 68 demonstration counties and 153 demonstration points. The MoA held a ceremony of China’s most beautiful leisure villages in Wuhan, Hubei Province, extended the brand awareness of leisure agriculture and rural tourism, lifted the awareness and acceptance of leisure agriculture in the whole society, created good atmosphere for the promotion of leisure agriculture and rural tourism, and further played the role of expanding agriculture with leisure and rural tourism. The MoA improved the mechanism by setting up national leisure agriculture and rural tourism demonstration counties and exemplary bases, enhanced dynamic management, guiding local governments towards the path of emphasizing the integration of primary, secondary and tertiary industries, ecological environment protection, increasing farmers’ income, improving agricultural efficiency and sustainable development of leisure agriculture industry. The MoA also prompted counties and bases to participate to optimize concept, clarifying mentality, improving facilities and boosting quality in the establishment process.

Explore cultural heritage and exploit new fields

The MoA guided each region to enhance the exploration, protection and utilization of important agricultural cultural heritage with long history, unique agricultural products, rich biological resources, complete knowledge and technology system, and relatively high aesthetic and cultural value, such as traditional rice planting system, characteristic agricultural system, composite agricultural system, and traditional characteristic orchards. It enacted the Management Method for important Agricultural Cultural Heritage by the Ministry of Agriculture, organized and launched the exploration for the third batch of China’s important agricultural cultural heritage, and identified 23 projects as the third batch of China’s important agricultural cultural heritage. Through the work of holding press conference in Taixing, Jiangsu Province, making picture albums and promotion of videos for China’s important agricultural cultural heritage, writing series of books for important cultural heritage, and conducting special promotion on major newspapers and magazines including People’s Daily and Farmers’ Daily, the MoA exchanged experiences and measures on dynamic inheritance from each region, constantly pushed forward the exploration, protection, inheritance and utilization of important agricultural cultural heritage, and made contribution to enriching the historical, cultural and landscape resources for leisure agriculture, further carrying forward traditional Chinese agricultural culture, and promoting employment and income increase for farmers from heritage sites.

Train talents and build a new think tank

The MoA guided each region to follow the creativity focus of products, packaging, events and landscape, explored traditional culture, highlighted the feature of the era, revealed the humanity custom, strove to build a series of leisure agricultural parks that integrate farming experience, rural sightseeing, education display and cultural inheritance, developed a batch of leisure products with local features, and pushed forward the integration between agriculture and culture, science and technology, ecology and tourism. Relying on authoritative experts in the Expert Committee of National Leisure Agriculture and Expert Committee of China’s Important Agricultural Cultural Heritage, the MoA wrote training materials including Practical Marketing of Leisure Agriculture, held two phases of trainings for local agricultural bureau chiefs of national leisure agriculture and rural tourism demonstration counties, trained a total of 37 provincial-level management department heads and 183 agricultural bureau chiefs of demonstration counties, guided the training by Rural Social Undertakings Development Center for more than 500 management staff in leisure agriculture star-level enterprises, cultivated creative ideas, trained creative talents team, and improved Policy, theory level and professional ability management staff.

Launch promotion and create new atmosphere

The MoA used various forms of media including newspapers, magazines, the broadcast media and the Internet to widely implement activities on advertising, promotion and presentation. It opened leisure agriculture special column on Farmers’ Daily, made promotion through multiple angles including leisure experiences, created design and farming civilization inheritance, lifted the influence of the industry, guided the revision and upgrade of the China Leisure Agriculture Website, and enhanced online promotion. With the theme of Spring Flower Economy and Beautiful Farms, the MoA joined CCTV-7 to make propaganda videos on public welfare; Prior to the National Holiday, it created online special column called National Day Leisure Agriculture and Rural tourism Routes and Sites, promoted 450 tourism spots, selected 100 leisure agriculture and rural tourism routes nationwide, promoted them on mainstream media, and made Wechat special project, attracting more consumers to go to the Countryside for relaxation.

Lay good foundation and accumulate momentum for new development

The MoA organized and launched leisure agriculture statistical monitoring task, scientifically set up indicators and monitoring using statistical methods, and created longtime stable statistical monitoring mechanism. It organized and launched personnel training and improved monitoring and skills in statistics. It organized the writing and publication of series of books called 2014 China leisure Agriculture Yearbook and China’s Most Beautiful Leisure Villages. It actively supported the construction for the development of the die industry’s infrastructure, public service facilities, environmental protection facilities and leisure reception supporting facilities, and strove for support fund for the construction and transformation of the exhibition venue for the popularization of farming custom culture.


Under the influence of above policy measures, leisure agriculture and rural tourism will grow rapidly, and will constantly meet the growing demand for tourism and leisure of Chinese residents. This will not only open up an important direction for the transformation of China's agricultural development mode, but will also open up new areas of consumption for the increasingly affluent consumers in China.


The MOA met with 11 departments co-issued Notice on Actively Exploring Agriculture’s Multiple Functions and Vigorously Promoting the Development of Leisure Agriculture

   农业部会同11部门联合印发《关于积极开发农业多种功能 大力促进休闲农业发展的通知》

The Management Method for important Agricultural Cultural Heritage by Ministry of Agriculture



Date submitted: Nov. 17, 2017

Reviewed, edited and uploaded: Dec. 8, 2017