BEIJING, February 17, Xinhua -- Local governments are hoping that half a million loggers will embrace new job opportunities as China phases in a ban on commercial logging in natural forests.
Fan Zhaoyi was among the first to capitalize on these new opportunities when he turned his log cabin in Shuangfeng Forest, Heilongjiang Province, into a guesthouse for tourists six years ago.
Though many local people were skeptical about starting their own businesses, Fan took his chance. His hotel with 15 rooms now earns him over 400,000 yuan (about 61,000 U.S. dollars) a year, almost 20 times what he made as a logger.
"Not many people liked the idea at that time. They did not know what the forest could offer other than timber," Fan said. "They did not know that what was ordinary to our eyes was extraordinary to other people."
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