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China's blossoming tourism flourishes

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2014-04-14 17:12:48

"People love flowers as they represent beauty," said Xiong Yuanbin of Central China's Wuhan University. "The love for beauty is almost a human instinct."

Besides the more mundane options of visiting historical or cultural sites, making a trip to see flowers has become quite the rage among the Chinese public in recent years, but turning flower tourism into a world-class item in China is still some way off.

Every Spring tourists congregate at flourishing destinations such as Kunming in the southwest and Wuyuan in the east, to view magnificent spectacles of rape flowers, cherry and peach blossom, and tulips. The improved high-speed railway network makes such trips fast and convenient.

This is a trend local governments are delighted to encourage, as it contributes more to a city than just the obvious economic benefits.

Famed for its cherry trees, for many Wuhan University has become a must-see every March. The campus was crowded with 50,000 visitors a day during the flowering season last year. This year, authorities capped the daily limit at 40,000.

In 2013, Wuhan attracted 170 million domestic and foreign visitors and many came for the city's "five flowers": cherry blossom, azalea, lotus, peony and plum blossom. Always keen to maximize the allure of the flowers, the city came up with idea of making the most of arguably China's best known athlete, tennis player Li Na, by placing a life-size wax statue of her in some popular parks.

Ingenuity aside, flower tourism remains somewhat under-exploited.

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