Thriving flower industry boosts tourism in SW China's Yunnan

(People's Daily Online) 11:12, March 29, 2024

"Flower viewing" has become a tourism buzzword in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, on Chinese social media, as the province’s fresh-cut flower industry has continued to flourish in recent years.

Tourists buy fresh flowers at the Dounan Flower Market in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province. (Xinhua/Chen Xinbo)

Yunnan produces 18 billion stems of fresh-cut flowers annually, with the output value exceeding 100 billion yuan (about $13.84 billion).

Representative fresh flower cultivation bases and trading venues in the province, including the Dounan Flower Market in Kunming and the edible rose base in Bajie subdistrict, An'ning, a county-level city overseen by Kunming, have become popular photo spots, attracting crowds of tourists.

The fresh-cut flower industry in Yunnan has expanded, while the integration of flowers and tourism has become a new highlight of the province's tourism sector.

Cai Jianhua, a florist who has been selling flowers at the Dounan Flower Market for over 20 years, said visitors from across the country and foreign tourists accompanied by interpreters purchase flowers at the market.

"An increasing number of domestic and foreign tourists has been coming to the flower market to buy flowers these years," Cai said.

The Dounan Flower Market is the largest fresh-cut flower trading market in Asia and the second largest worldwide. It sells over 1,600 varieties of fresh-cut flowers under 117 categories.

A tourist surnamed Xu from Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, was enchanted by the myriads of flowers on offer and their competitive prices at the flower market.

"The scene in the flower market is stunning and the flowers are so appealing. I want to take them all home," she said.

When traveling to Yunnan in the past, Xu usually treated Kunming as a transfer station. This time, she made the Dounan Flower Market the final stop of her trip, which turned out to be a surprising and amazing experience. She bought fresh flowers such as big-leaf hydrangea flowers, roses, and lilies, bringing the essence of spring from Yunnan back home.

The Dounan Flower Market was selected as one of the second batch of national-level night culture and tourism consumption clusters in July 2022, according to Qian Chongjun, executive president of Yunnan Dounan Flower Industry Group. In 2023, the Kunming Dounan International Flowers Industrial Park received over 4 million tourist visits, with tourism revenue exceeding 200 million yuan.

Over the past years, Yunnan has been working to build a complete flower industry chain and promote the integrated development of flowers and tourism.

Photo shows edible rose fields in Bajie subdistrict, An'ning, a county-level city overseen by Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province. (Photo courtesy of the publicity department of the Communist Party of China An'ning municipal committee)

The Dounan Flower Market organizes themed tourism activities and exhibitions to attract more visitors' attention on festivals such as International Women's Day, Mother's Day, and Valentine's Day,, as well as special days including May 20, as "520" is pronounced like "I love you" in Chinese, said Guo Zhaochuan, head of the Dounan flower industry comprehensive service center.

On May 20, 2023, over 9 million fresh flower stems were auctioned at the flower market, and 1,500 drones created a breathtaking spectacle of roses and other flowers in the night sky, drawing crowds of tourists and residents into a romantic atmosphere.

Tourists can also savor edible flowers. According to Jiang Zhenghong, a grower of edible roses in Xianglian village, Bajie subdistrict, An'ning city, flocks of tourists view roses and go flower-picking in the village during the blooming season. Over the past two years, the village has provided ovens near rose fields, allowing tourists to bake flower cakes immediately after harvesting roses.

Li Zhenghai, Party chief of the village, said the planting area of edible roses in the village has reached about 1,400 mu (about 93.33 hectares).

Since 2019, Xianglian village has built and improved supporting facilities such as parking lots, public toilets, and sightseeing platforms, and worked with companies to develop creative tourism projects. Today, tourists can experience the daily lives of flower farmers in the village, and buy souvenirs such as flower cakes, rose-flavored sugar and handmade floral soaps.

"With more tourists flocking to our village, our local specialties are selling better. My wife and I can earn 10,000 yuan in just over 10 days by selling eggs and hand-woven garlands," Jiang said.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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