Across China: Tibet city developing ecotourism with protection of endangered peonies-Xinhua

Across China: Tibet city developing ecotourism with protection of endangered peonies

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-06-02 19:11:45

LHASA, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Clusters of blooming wild yellow peonies in a scenic valley of Mainling City of Nyingchi, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, have welcomed throngs of visitors during an ongoing culture and tourism festival for the endangered peonies.

The yellow peony, named Paeonia ludlowii, is an endangered species of China endemic to Tibet. It is commonly found in two scenic valleys at altitudes of 2,900 meters to 3,200 meters in Mainling.

The city, meaning "an islet with medical materials" in the Tibetan language, is rich in wild medicinal plants due to its humid climate. The Tagon Valley with the yellow peony is regarded as a major birthplace of Tibetan medicinal culture.

The local government started the tradition of holding a week-long festival for the wildflowers in 2007, aiming to inform more people about endangered peonies and the best way to protect them.

Over the past years, the city has continuously developed ecotourism and the number of the endangered peonies has increased from less than 6,000 plants to tens of thousands of plants.

"The beautiful scenery and the yellow peonies are a huge attraction, so I come here with my family every year during the festival," said Yangjen, who drove here from a town nearby with her mother and son in brown Tibetan-style clothes.

Yangjen added that the bumpy dirt roads in Mainling have been replaced by flat concrete roads during the past decade, and more people came to visit it with convenient transportation, especially after the Lhasa-Nyingchi railway was put into operation in 2021.

Tsering Yangjen, a member of an art troupe from Tsona County of Shannan City, came to Mainling to stage a performance at the opening of the culture and tourism festival. "It took me merely two hours to travel to Mainling by train," said the 24-year-old.

In recent years, ecotourism in Mainling has not only protected the local natural environment but also helped the locals make money.

Local handicraft products exhibited at the festival attracted the attention of many tourists. Dachung, a 61-year-old craftsman in Mainling, brought his bamboo weaving products to the exhibition. Dachung's skill is an intangible cultural heritage of Tibet.

"My handmade bamboo baskets are very popular. Some tourists buy the baskets as souvenirs and some buy them to store food when going out for picnics," Dachung said.

The specialty snacks of Tibet, such as highland barley cakes and Tibetan noodles, at the local night fair, have attracted flocks of visitors.

"During our culture and tourism festival, the night fair is bustling and our stall's revenue exceeds 2,000 yuan (about 282 U.S. dollars) one night," said stall owner Yade.

Mainling received over 14,000 tourists on the first day of the festival on Sunday. "Watching peonies during the day and enjoying the fair at night, traveling here is unique and enjoyable," said Li Qunying, a 53-year-old tourist from Sichuan Province, who visited the night fair with her daughter and granddaughter.