This post was originally published on WeGoEU, a company that connects European businesses with Chinese travellers through WeChat Mini Programs.
Even in a pandemic, flowers bloom. And having planted seven million bulbs, the Dutch flower park of Keukenhof sees more blooming than most. For a first time since opening in 1950, there will be no visitors to enjoy (or share on social media) its hyacinths, irises, lilies, or remarkably diverse collection of tulips.
Spring is typically peak season for visitation at Keukenhof in South Holland, it received more than 1.5 million flower gazers in 2019, though as the park’s director, Bart Siemerink, acknowledged, “Corona came to Europe a few weeks ago and we quickly realised that would mean Keukenhof cannot open this year, which is very negative for us”.
Keukenhof has become a popular destination among Chinese travelers with around 100,000 arriving annually and though they can’t visit in person, some experienced the flower park virtually on Bilibili, a video-sharing platform with more than 100 million active monthly users. The video came courtesy of Elena Lin, a Chinese vlogger living in the Netherlands, who broadcast her experience inside the flower park in partnership with WeGoEU to her 600,000 followers.
Here, Lin discusses her wanderings inside Keukenhof and offers tips for creating appealing video content for Chinese travellers:
How did you become a vlogger and what are your secrets for creating popular videos?
I started vlogging because I like recording daily life and sharing positive energy with others. I try to balance between filming something that is easy to grasp and interesting for the audience and something that makes me happy. Pouring heart into creating content is not enough. A vlogger also needs to listen to feedback and constantly improve.
How was your experience at Keukenhof?
The flowers blossomed in my eyes and in my heart, so I was in a beautiful mood. I could hear the birds and all the soothing sounds of nature. It felt like a paradise on earth.
The Keukenhof has uploaded a series of videos on its YouTube channel allowing its gardeners to show off their favorite spots and talk about their favorite flowers. What other stories could it tell?
It’s a pity they spent a whole year planning and couldn’t open the garden to the public. I think they should seize this opportunity to reveal more backstage, personal stories. How do they design the garden? When do they plant? How do they plan the blossoming sequence? Why are some flowers planted in layers of three? We don’t often have the opportunity to learn such stories and I am curious to discover these myself.
How can the Keukenhof or other tourism attractions in Europe improve the experience for Chinese travellers when they begin visiting again?
Due to cultural differences, some Chinese don’t know what is allowed in Europe. In Keukenhof, I learned that people could walk on the grass in some areas. In China, stepping on the grass is not encouraged. If Keukenhof and other attractions could inform Chinese travellers what they can [and can’t] do, it will allow them to relax and experience more.
WeGoEu offers a mini program for Chinese travellers to enjoy Europe. What can be improved to better serve the needs of Chinese travellers?
[Mini Programs are] very convenient for checking information such as location, opening hours, and booking tickets directly. If this mini program could suggest perfect spots and angles for taking photos, Chinese [visitors] will love it.
Every time before I travel, I have to prepare a word document and copy paste the information to create an itinerary. So if we could curate itineraries directly within the mini program, we will find it really handy.
What tips would you give to your followers when it comes to travelling in Europe?
I would suggest they “xia guang” (literally meaning “roaming blindly”). When I wander around aimlessly, I often stumble upon lovely surprises. I think people will discover and experience local cultures more if they just “xia guang” and get spontaneous.
What are your secrets for staying happy and healthy during lockdown?
I choose to embrace a good mind-set, that is, focus on what I can do, rather than what I cannot. I tidy my room, rearrange furniture and design new decorations. When I focus on good things I can do, the lockdown is not that unbearable any more.