China’s Liyang Tea Festival kicked off in Liyang, a city in Jiangsu Province in Southeast China, on April 10, marking the 30th year since tea culture was first celebrated through the event in 1991. The event coincides with the Tianmu Lake Tourism Festival.
Located in the hilly area of the Yangtze River Delta, the superior geographical conditions and climate of Liyang provides a suitable environment for tea tree growth. Since the early 1990s, the production chain of tea planting, picking and roasting has developed rapidly, serving as a significant agricultural industry for Liyang.
At present, Liyang's tea plantation covers more than 70,000 mu (about 4,667 hectares), with an annual output value of CNY1.5 billion ($US229 million). Among that, the representative “Tianmu Lake white tea” covers nearly 50,000 mu (about 3,333 hectares), with an annual output value of more than CNY1 billion (or $US153 million). Currently, there are more than 300 tea production and operation entities in Liyang.
First celebrated in 1991, Liyang Tea Festival has gone through 30 years of transformation and new content ideas. Under the premise of environmental protection, the City of Liyang noted that it has accelerated the development of tea industry, ecological agriculture and tourism to boost the growth of its social economy.
“Over the past 30 years, Liyang has undergone enormous changes both socially and economically,” said Xu Huaqin, secretary of the Liyang Municipal Party Committee. “Built from the ground up, the tea industry has developed from simply planting trees to the current configuration complete with offshoot industries such as culture and tourism. Tea sales has evolved from small-scale domestic selling to larger-scale overseas exports. We are confident that by holding the dual-festival, it will serve as a driving force for the City of Liyang to attract more investment and continue to act as an international calling card for the city's modern ecological innovation.”
Celebrations for the Liyang Tea Festival and Tianmu Lake Tourism Festival will run for a month, all themed around the “Year of Ecological Quality Consolidation and Improvement,” and to highlight the vitality, leisure and entertainment of Liyang. Also, a series of tea-related activities – such as white tea leaf picking – will be held, focusing on culture, tourism, technology, economy and trade.
The impressive opening ceremony for the festivals was broadcast live across multiple online channels.
At the launch ceremony, Noriaki Yamada, mayor of Hakusan, Liyang's sister city in Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan, congratulated everyone on the grand opening of the dual-festival via satellite video. Guests at the ceremony enjoyed a viewing on a large screen of a traditional taiko (a Japanese drum) performance given by the citizens of Hakusan.
As part of the ceremony, awards and titles were presented to Liyang, including China's Most Beautiful Tourist City, and special plaques were delivered to outstanding star-rated tea houses in Liyang.
The dual-festivals will run through May 10, with activities being conducted both online and offline, due to the pandemic.