|Colour galore: Beautiful flowers on display at the festival. — VNS Photo Ly Tri
DA LAT — The Da Lat Flower Festival 2012 opened with a grand performance before an 12,000-member audience in the resort city of Da Lat on Saturday.
In the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) province of Lam Dong, the festival began with more than 2,000 professional and amateur performances with artists clad in floral colours at Lam Vien Stadium, hailing from as far away as HCM City.
A ceremony was held to honour the value of flowers and artisans from Da Lat's six flower villages, with six flower-bedecked vehicles transporting outstanding farmers to the main stage.
Senior officials presented certificates of merit to representatives from traditional flowers villages, agencies and companies that sponsored the festival.
Nguyen Xuan Tien, chairman of the Lam Dong Province's People Committee, spoke at the opening ceremony, saying that, together with overall socio-economic development, the province over the last few years achieved rapid development with diverse products and services with significantly improved quality.
Tourism has become more attractive thanks to both the province's charming natural scenery and the beauty of various species of flowers.
"Flowers and flower-growers have always been close to Da Lat's entire development process. They have provided all kinds of wild flowers to the city, which now has thousands of species with origins from localities nationwide and countries around the world," Tien said.
"They are making important contributions to the province's socio-economic development, and enabling the Da Lat Flower brand name to become famous not only at home but also abroad."
With the theme "Da Lat – the City of Flowers", this year's festival honours all those involved in the industry and sends a message to domestic and foreign friends that Da Lat is a tourism and environmentally friendly city.
The city hopes to attract more foreign and domestic investment to help develop it into a modern one, and turn Lam Dong into a developed province.
Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, a vice chairwoman of the National Assembly, said: "Da Lat has for years been known at home and aboard as a city with unique landscapes and lovely names such as the City of Mimosa Flowers, the City of Cherry Flowers and the City of Thousands of Flowers".
"In 2011 the global economy saw many changes, which had a direct impact on the country's economy. However, the economic development picture of Lam Dong in general and Da Lat in particular still shows encouraging results.
"Most targets set for the year have been achieved or even beyond, with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 14.6 per cent, two times higher than the nation's average level, and agricultural production value at VND80 million per ha. Social welfare policies helped the city carry out hunger elimination and poverty reduction, therefore ensuring social order and security," Ngan said.
"After being organised four times, the Da Lat Flower Festival is now recognised as an economic, cultural and tourism event," she said.
The opening ceremony ended with a 25-minute show of fireworks.
On Friday evening, the International Flower Exhibition at the Municipal Park began with more than 90 domestic companies and households from 24 provinces and cities nationwide, as well as several foreign companies, participating.
The festival closes today with a wine feast. — VNS