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Fresh food and scenery lures tourists to suburbs
( 2003-09-23 10:07) (China Daily)

This year's first large-scale agricultural produce fair in Beijing concluded yesterday in the capital's northwestern Yanqing County.

The three-day event attracted hundreds of people from not only the county, but also from many other parts of the city.

Wang Yusen, an official with the Yanqing County tourism authority, said people were driving miles to get to the fair for some of the " freshest and finest produce in Beijing."

Among the products which have attracted special attention are pomegranates cultivated by Liu Shuhua from western Beijing's Mentougou District, which are two to three times as large as those normally produced by local farmers.

Having become a star at the fair, Liu not only sold all the pomegranates she took to the fair, but, unintentionally, helped make a successful promotion for autumn tours in the Beijing suburbs.

"Through the fair, we want to convince tourists that Beijing suburbs is a good choice for their holidays with beautiful views and delicious foods," said Wang.

Actually, going to the scenic countryside to pick fresh vegetables and fruits by themselves has been accepted by even more Beijing people as a major weekend recreational activity.

The municipal forestry bureau has ensured that local orchards provide tourist services to cater for the needs of many tourists from Beijing and beyond.

According to Liu Lili, a publicity official with the bureau, altogether 235 apple, pear, peach, grape, apricot, persimmon and Chinese chestnut orchards have passed the scrutiny, boasting a total area of 13,340 hectares.

The first countryside Harvest Festival was officially launched in northeastern Beijing's Miyun County, the Chinese capital's leading fruit production base, on Sunday.

But this is just the beginning. Xiong Yumei, vice-director of the Beijing Municipal Tourism Bureau, announced earlier that Beijing's rural areas will still host a series of folk activities inviting tourists to have a taste of Beijing's genuine rural life.

Moreover, said Xiong, the bureau will also send professional performing groups, both domestic and foreign, visiting Beijing during the period to stage special performances in the countryside. "If you are in Beijing during the National Day holiday, the countryside is not to be missed," she said.

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