Mountain villagers in China sell air to the city slickers and tourists that come to visit.
No doubt you’ve seen some dumb things for sale in tourist traps while on vacation before. But if there was an award for separating tourists from their cash, the top prize would have to go to the villagers of a Chinese mountain village who are selling air to city dwellers. Yes, you read that correctly. Air.
It’s no secret China has some serious smog problems. And the crazy concept of selling oxygen has come up before. A Canadian company made headlines back in December for selling bottles of fresh air to China. And now villagers in China’s Guangdong province are doing the same to tourists to their region.
Zhi Chenglin, whom Asia One credits as starting the fresh air selling scheme in Guangdong, returned to the more mountainous and forested Lianshan Mountain to escape the heavily-polluted air he encountered while working in Guangzhou.
Now villagers tout the health benefits of fresh air as they sell bags of it to tourists for 10-30 yuan each, which equals about $2-$6.
And apparently, some of these purchases are serious. Asia One reports some tourists actually haggle on the prices with the villagers. Some are even taking bags back to the cities with them when they go. Some may be buying the air simply as a curiosity as the site reported on the Canadian company back in December, the air would last only minutes.
Taking advantage of tourists aside, Chenglin hopes the scheme will do something more. He told Asia One the idea could remind people living in China’s more urban, and polluted areas, about the importance of these environmental issues.
Until China can come up with better ways to address its smog and air problems, it’s likely that strange stories like this will only continue for the foreseeable future.