Pastoral 'Happy Farmhouse' tourism proves to be a natural
Updated: 2013-06-07 09:47
A farmer's hostel in the suburbs of Chengdu. "Agri-tourism" is growing popular with urban vacationers. Zhang Guorong / For China Daily
As urban travelers try to find an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, "Happy Farmhouse Tourism" is increasingly popular.
The agri-entertainment approach to leisure time offers pastoral scenery and a hands-on experience of farm life.
Chengdu is at the forefront of the field. It was named the "Birthplace of Happy Farmhouse Tourism" by the National Tourism Administration at the opening ceremony of the first China Rural Tourism Festival in 2006.
There are now more than 6,000 Happy Farmhouses in the city out of the total 100,000 in China.
Most agri-tourism operations are clustered around two areas of suburban Chengdu - Sansheng village and the Eco-Tour Loop Line
Five kilometers to the southeast of Chengdu proper is Sansheng - or Three Sages - village, known as a paradise for rural tourism.
Villagers have made their living by cultivating flowers and trees from one generation to the next. Since 2003, the village has opened up to various forms of tourism - simply leisure, sightseeing, flower appreciation, fruit tasting and experiencing farm work.
Local authorities have now divided the villages into five sections, each with a signature view such as lotus pool under moonlight, plum forest and farming fields.
The five themed scenic sites won the village the title of the "Five Golden Flowers". The appealing environment also helps inspire creation and has drawn some artists to set up creative studios in the village.
The Eco-Tour Loop Line is another choice for weekend countryside tours. Of the several towns around the loop line, Dalin is known for its pear blossoms, Hejiang has three cherry seasons a year and Xinglong has a famous rose garden.
With such a large rural population, China's officials at various levels are trying hard to boost the countryside economy. Agri-tourism is one of the most appealing options.