Across China: Apple pear flowers put border tourism in full bloom

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-14 19:38:25|Editor: Li Xia
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CHANGCHUN, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Early in the morning, Dalia and her friends left their home in Russia's Vladivostok, flocking through a port to Ying'an Township in northeast China's border city of Hunchun.

They are among a growing number of Russian tourists going to Hunchun in Jilin Province to see the "sea of apple pear flowers." In Ying'an Township alone, more than 667 hectares of apple pear trees have been planted, with blooming white flowers every spring and summer.

"I heard that it's beautiful. It's amazing to see it," Dalia said while taking pictures. "I like this place. It's so close to nature."

After the flower tour, she and her friends will visit a small restaurant run by the local orchard farmer.

The apple pear is a type of special fruit in the Korean Autonomous Prefecture of Yanbian, which governs Hunchun. It is a pear but resembles an apple in appearance.

According to Li Xiong from Institute of Pomology of Yanbian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the apple pear has been cultivated in Yanbian for nearly 100 years.

Yanbian is home to over 10,000 apple pear farmer households, with an annual output surpassing 400,000 tonnes. Its seedlings have been introduced to more than 20 Chinese provincial-level regions and foreign countries such as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Romania.

"Since the 1970s, with improving technology, the yield of Yanbian apple pears has increased, and researchers are developing new technologies such as juice squeezing and wine brewing to increase the added value of the fruit," Li said.

The apple pear flowers have boosted local tourism. According to the tourism bureau of Hunchun, a city located at the juncture of China, Russia and the DPRK, around 95,000 people have passed through China-Russia Hunchun ports since 2019.

Last year, Hunchun received 3.81 million domestic and international tourists and gained 4.5 billion yuan (around 650 million U.S. dollars) in tourism revenue, up 38 percent year on year.

"More Russian tourists have come to see apple pear blossoms than ever before," said Wang Ming, an orchard farmer. "In the past, we planted trees just for the fruit. No one would have thought that we could make money when they bloom."