MoniTourism
Flower Tourism

Flower Tourism Changing the Landscape of Chinese Travel.

Flower tourism has been on the rise internationally for over a decade. With what has started as a popular trend backed by local governments, China is looking to expand upon its existing travel and tourism market by showing off the underrepresented colors of the country. Is flower tourism poised to become the new face of Chinese tourism? Can China turn this rising local trend into an profitable venture in line with countries that are internationally recognized for flower tourism? The MoniTourism Editorial Team takes a closer look at what has become the fastest rising trend among local tourists in China.

With what has started as a popular trend backed by local governments, China is looking to expand upon its existing travel and tourism market by showing off the underrepresented colors of the country.

From April 12th through 20th, the ancient city of Pingyao celebrated its 4th annual Pear Flower Tourism Festival in 2014, one of the most prominent flower tourism festivals in China and a rising attraction for domestic and foreign tourists alike.

The festival is just one example of China’s new flower tourism, a growing venture backed by local governments in which flower gardens are transformed into attractions for tourists looking to celebrate the start of Spring.

But, is flower tourism poised to become the new face of Chinese tourism?

Initially, celebrations like the festival in Pingyao have attracted mostly local and rural tourists looking to break the monotony of a tourism market dominated by historical landmarks. For instance, the Shangxi Provincial Tourism Bureau has increased its promotion of the Pear Flower Tourism Festival in order to build its rural tourism brand, adding special tour lines for the Pingyao festival and, in cooperation provincial travel agencies, pulling in more than 10,000 visitors - making flower tourism not only the fastest-growing travel trend in China but a new model for integrating leisure, agriculture, and rural tourism 1.

In combination with increased infrastructure, such as a high-speed rail system to rural provinces, China’s flower tourism has contributed to an increase in rurally-focused tourism, much of which centers around floral attractions. But, despite growing support from the public as well as local governments, many fail to see the long-term benefits of such a trend. “Flower tourism in China is still short-sighted,” said Long Xinmin, president of China Southern International Travel Company, “limited by preoccupation with short-term gains.” Though the trend has risen out of a desire for domestic tourism beyond historical and national monuments, local governments have, thus far, overlooked the kind of maintenance required to keep these newly glorified attractions popular year round as the majority of floral attractions are only open in the Spring 2.

Can China turn this rising local trend into an profitable venture in line with countries that are internationally recognized for flower tourism?

In 2013 alone, Wuhan University, located in the Central Chinese province of Hubei, garnered more than 170 million domestic and foreign visitors, many of whom came to marvel at the city of Wuhan’s five most prominent flowers: the cherry blossom, azalea, lotus, peony, and plum blossom 3. Yet, than it manages to pull in, exporting domestic tourists to popular flower tourism destinations like France, Japan, and The Netherlands rather than importing international tourists to its domestic attractions.

Even though flower tourism is rapidly becoming one of the most popular reasons for domestic and international travel amongst Chinese citizens, the global success of French, Japanese, and Dutch floral attractions demands that China will undoubtedly need to look far beyond short-term domestic benefits if they want to increase the international notoriety of their brand of flower tourism as well as continue to expand upon their existing travel and tourism market.

While flower tourism is certainly changing the landscape of Chinese travel, only the seasons may tell if it will make Chinese tourism bloom or wilt.

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