People’s Republic of China (Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region)
|Population||48 million (2016)|
|GDP at PPP (current international dollars)||424 billion (2016)|
|GDP per capita at PPP (current international dollars)||8,895 (2016)|
|Population||56 million (2016)|
|GDP at PPP (current international dollars)||528 billion (2016)|
|GDP per capita at PPP (current international dollars)||9,465 (2016)|
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The southern parts of the People’s Republic of China that are part of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) are rich in agriculture. The Yunnan region produces rice, corn, barley, wheat, rapeseed, sweet potatoes, soybeans, tea and other crops, as well as livestock. Because the area is mountainous, Yunnan is also home to spectacular rice terraces. The Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is similarly blessed with a wide variety of agricultural products, including oranges, rice, beans, corn, cassava, cinnamon, bananas, vegetables, durian, pineapples, and tea, as well as livestock. Both areas trade products and expertise with their GMS neighbors.
The PRC has established itself as a leader in the development of renewable energy, and the GMS member areas of Yunnan and Guangxi are no exception. Hydropower, wind and solar projects operate in the areas. The two regions also benefit from the rural electrification programs of the national Government, and share renewable energy expertise with their GMS partners.
Yunnan and Guangxi are rich ecological areas with much to contribute to the GMS environment sector. Guangxi is mountainous, with a diverse range of plant life. More than a third of Yunnan is forested, twice the average of other regions in the PRC. Yunnan has more species of tropical, subtropical, temperate, and frigid-zone plants than anywhere else in the country. Both areas are seeking sustainable management of their environments in coordination with their GMS partners.
The Chinese regions of the GMS have been active participants in human resource development. Yunnan and Guangxi have conducted cross-border health cooperation programs, and short-term training courses in numerous fields. Government scholarships have also been offered to GMS students, and a great number of educational exchanges have been held. Yunnan and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region also cooperate with their GMS partners on migration issues, the protection of women and indigenous groups, and youth development.
Yunnan and Guangxi have in recent years upgraded their telecommunication connections with Myanmar, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam. Work is also underway to expand Internet links to Thailand.
The two Chinese regions of GMS are home to a vast array of popular tourism sites, not only for domestic tourism, but also for visitors from surrounding GMS countries. Guangxi, for example, is a top destination for visitors from Viet Nam. In Yunnan, tourism infrastructure is being developed with a focus on community participation. Both Guangxi and Yunnan are developing meeting and convention tourism that draws visitors from GMS countries.
Trade between neighboring GMS countries and the Yunnan and Guangxi regions of PRC has grown exponentially in the last ten years. Myanmar, Viet Nam and Thailand are top trading partners of Yunnan, and comprise a significant proportion of their trade. Yunnan and Guangxi have coordinated on enhancing cross-border trade with their GMS neighbors, and have acted as a gateway to greater trade with the PRC.
In the area of transport, Yunnan and Guangxi have played an important role in the development of road networks, and economic corridors, that bind the Greater Mekong Subregion together. This includes the Yunnan Expressway (Chuxiang–Dali), and the Southern and Western Yunnan roads. The expansion of rail services has also been a key aspect of Yunnan and Guangxi’s contribution to transport in the subregion. The Singapore-Kunming rail project is another important link in the GMS transport system.
The 38th Meeting of the Greater Mekong Subregion Tourism Working Group was held on 8 December 2016 in Kunming, Yunnan Province of the People’s Republic of China.
This issue of the Journal focuses on the seminal research undertaken by Social Research Institute of Chiang Mai University (SRI-CMU) on the question: How does community-based tourism (CBT) impact on poverty? Five research papers were selected from the SRI-CMU project. The overview article, Tourism: Blessings for All?, by Mingsarn Kaosa-ard, discusses the returns from tourism and how these returns are being shared from a national perspective. The benefits and the potential negative impacts of tourism are weighed.