Innovations

UN Sustainable Development Goal

11
Sustainable Cities and Communities

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A Walk in the Clouds

Date published: 18 Jan 2017
Linan China     1 like   2

Overview

The Cloud Meet Bed and Breakfast provides a simple natural lifestyle, which revolves around nature for those who may feel damage from urban polluted environments, offering hospitality and a warm, sustainable escape from the city.  

innovation photo

Innovation

Cloud Meet B&B wants to create a warm and innovative environment for its customers, encouraging them to connect their lives with nature and develop harmony with the local culture. As Mr. Zheng says, “It is important for people to spend time in making a connection with our nature environment, because of the over dependence on use of electronics.” Hence, Mr. Zheng did not install TV sets in guestrooms. Cloud Meet B&B offers a variety of activities for customers, such as yoga, folk concerts, and an experience to grow fruits and vegetables with local farmers. The inn has an inviting mini library in the lobby for people who like reading.

In order to preserve the traditional spirit of the local architecture, old-fashioned in its appearance, he used local raw material to rebuild and re-design two unused buildings. Also, he reclaimed the old local furniture for his new place because he believed that every antique piece from the old building had to be treated as a treasure. Cloud Meet B&B respects nature and the local culture, preserving the original country style and natural ecology for its guests.

Mr. Zheng is good at cooking, and he often makes dinner for guests. He developed an organic farm with the purpose of serving high quality and healthy foods for his guests. Mr. Zheng grows organic farm products in his farmland, which helps to control and ensure the high quality of each meal. Mr. Zheng cooperates with local farmers to sell several "green" and organic souvenirs for his guests, such as pecan nuts, green tea, and bamboo shoots. All of these organic souvenirs receive a unanimous praise from customers.

Overall impact

Mr. Zheng mentioned that there was almost no organic farming in this small village; farmers utilized pesticides and chemical fertilizers to ensure the high output of agricultural products. In his organic farm, he infused the concept of organic farming and promoted the use of biogas fertilizer, reducing the amount of pesticide and chemical fertilizers. With his help, more and more local farmers started to adopt the concept of organic farming.

Most of the Cloud Meet B&B employees are local residents: all ten employees are female. Due to the high level of unemployment in Xiangjian Village, the young generation is not willing to stay in the village anymore, and all of them are working in the cities. Only senior citizens, middle-aged women, and children live in the village. The Cloud Meet B&B hires women, offering a reasonable salary and improving their living condition. Moreover, the Cloud Meet B&B provides training programs to employees and helps them to advance their knowledge and professional skills. 

Before the inn opened, in order to enhance economic growth and employment, the local government used preferential policies to attract investors to build their factories in the Xiangjian Village. However, after the Cloud Meet B&B succeeded, the local government discovered that developing the nature-friendly inn and tourism was practical for establishing and fulfilling a sustainable development policy and planning strategy. The success of the Cloud Meet B&B had a significant impact on designing local development strategies in Xiangjian Village.

Inspiration

Lifang Zheng, the owner of the Cloud Meet B&B, worked in a travel agency for almost two decades. He noticed that traveling became more commercial, and that most of the travellers cannot notice the beauty of nature, instead just taking a snapshot for social media to demonstrate that they visited the place. Estrangement from nature doesn't allow visitors to understand nature, and explore the relationship between humanity and nature. Gradually, Mr. Zheng grew sick of the noise and crowded city, with its hectic lifestyle. He missed the river wandering through the beautiful Grand Canyon in West Zhejiang, and he wanted to build a welcoming home to share the beautiful scenery with his family, friends, and people who love the beauty of nature. As a result, he spent four years searching and found a shinning land for his dream. He designed the Cloud Meet B&B, with the goal to provide people with an up-close experience that will allow them to enjoy natural wonders.    

Business benefit

In 2016, the Cloud Meet B&B became one of the "Ten Best of B&B" in the Western Zhejiang Province Tourism Co-operation Summit. The Cloud Meet B&B utilizes public praise, customers' positive reviews and world of mouth recommendations as a marketing strategy, instead of over-spending money on advertising. Mr. Zheng said that Cloud Meet B&B has experienced a growth rate higher than expected.

Social and environmental benefit

The Cloud Meet B&B contributes both socially and environmentally. From the social perspective, the Cloud Meet B&B provides job opportunities to the local people, helping them professionally and financially. It also promotes public awareness about protection of natural environment. The inn inspires the local government to establish sustainable strategies to develop economy.

The Cloud Meet is located in the scenic hillside with pure air, white clouds, blue sky, and beautiful scenery which appeals to those who love nature. Healthy, natural, and relaxing life at the inn allows guests to experience both physical and psychological relief.

 

 

Interview(s)

Mr. Lifang Zheng, Owner

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2 comments
  • Matteo Gabbiadini likes this
  • Aixa Ritz
    Aixa Ritz A rural area that local government saw potential for development only by attracting industrial factories was changed by one person who saw the beauty of nature and saw potential for development with organic farming, female employment, and providing a way...  more
    January 18
  • Isabel Rimanoczy
    Isabel Rimanoczy The relevance of this business goes beyond providing a more natural experience for the guests: it has influenced the local government to rethink the development of the area, it is providing jobs in a community that suffers from unemployment and workers migrating...  more
    January 18