Qingdao Dazeshan Grape Festival boosts local tourism
This September, Qingdao was embracing its 31st Dazeshan Mountain Grape Festival. Each year, groups of tourists both in and outside Qingdao flood into this area to join the grape festival.
Driving in the Dazeshan mountain area, both sides of the local road are vineyards full of grape vines in perfect rows, with clusters of grapes ripe and full.
Fruit farmers picking grapes with tourists stopping to buy the freshly picked fruit directly from the vineyard is a common sight.
Mr. Wu is among the tourists.
"I heard beautiful vineyards constitute a tourist attraction, and local people are very warm-hearted. So I led my family here and we ate four or five types of grapes. It's delicious, sweet and reminds me of my first experience of tasting it 30 years ago."
Another tourist, Mr. Wang, chimes in eager to give high praise of the grapes' taste.
"Each single variety tastes different. You can eat it without washing it. Meanwhile, the grapes are quite naturally pleasant to look at."
The annual grape festival held here for over past 30 years has boosted the fruit's reputation. The Dazeshan grape enjoys a good reputation both at home and abroad.
A highlight of the festival is an interesting grape-tasting competition.
Miss Zhang is a citizen in Qingdao.
"It is well-known that the Dazeshan grapes are quite a delicacy. Today, I came here to have a try. I didn't try so many varieties in the past. In my eyes, the Dazeshan mountain area can not only boast delicious grapes but also picturesque scenery. There are so many places for fun that tourists may enjoy while eating."
This year, an outstanding scientific award was granted to a local grape farmer for applying advanced growing techniques in his vineyard.
Han Yubo is the winner.
"As soon as I graduated from high school, I embarked on researching grape-growing techniques. I have studied for 35 years up until now. I have been all over China, finding the most excellent grape species. I've chosen more than 180 varieties for hybrid breeding. Today, I think I should focus on the best grape type to meet a huge demand in the high-end market. Take the size of our grapes as an example: we didn't make it big and ripe by using any chemicals. After hybrid breeding, the grape becomes bigger and sweeter with greater fragrance. Another goal for my hybrid breeding is making my grapes easy for both storage and transportation. I hope my grapes may reach millions of households and I want to make contributions for my hometown."
With Han Yubo leading the way, local farmers are happy to find they are also getting richer.
In Dazeshan Mountain, Liu Shuyang would often sing a folk song he composed himself to express his happiness towards the grape harvest when the grapes are ripe.
His song often catches the attention of tourists, who enter the vineyard, following the sound of his voice.
Liu Shuxiang explains:
"The song spells out the hospitality of our local people. The output of my vineyard is fine. An acre of land is estimated to yield more than 2000 kilos. This year, the grapes are much healthier and being harvested."
Located in the northernmost part of Qingdao, Dazeshan Town covers an area of over 150 square kilometers with 80 villages and a population of 62,000.
Nearly 90% of the locals make a living from growing grapes. Each village dedicates itself to nurturing one flagship variety, with names like Rose Fragrance, Zeshan No 1 Cheat and Golden Finger.
Beichang Village in Dazeshan Town is the best area for producing "Golden Finger" grapes.
Tan Zhenfa is a local grape farmer who explains further.
"Our village has been growing grapes for generations. Many tourists came here for our grapes. Local farmers pay close attention to the quality of grapes. With more and more tourists coming here again and again, local farmers have won bigger income from the increase in the price of local grapes."
Dazeshan's vineyards are benefiting from tourist industries. Each year, the Grape Festival attracts around 600,000 tourists from home and abroad. According to Liu Jinqiang, an official in the publicity department of Dazeshan town, they want to build the Dazeshan mountain area into a tourist attraction.
"Outsiders may only know Dazeshan is famous for grapes. In fact, Dazeshan has rich tourism resources including 100 or so famous tourist sites. We are going to combine tourist attractions, roads, infrastructure facilities with the grape industry. It's more convenient for tourists to visit this area, and with an increasing inflow of tourists, the income of farmers would certainly go up."
The town of Dazeshan has hosted the China Qingdao Dazeshan Grape Festival for 31 years and its grapes are reputed to be on a par with those from Xinjiang, which is believed to produce the best grapes in China.
With the local grape festival grabbing rising world attention, it is believed the local eco-tourism and leisure sightseeing sector will develop vigorously in the future.
For CRI, I'm Jessica Luo.