CHINA> Regional
Sichuan mulls tourist zone along quake fault line
Updated: 2008-08-20 19:21

CHENGDU -- Southwest China's Sichuan Province might build a massive experimental tourist zone along the fault line that runs through Wenchuan, the epicenter of the 8.0-magnitude quake on May 12.

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The ruins left by the powerful earthquake, including a planned memorial in Yingxiu, a museum of quake ruins in Beichuan, and the "quake lake" at Tangjiashan, will form part of a well-planned six-themed tourism route with the Dalongmenshan fault line, according to Zhang Gu, chief of the Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Tourism.

The "Wenchuan quake ruins tourist route will demonstrate the protection of such ruins and the quake survivors' spirit of perseverance," said Zhang in an exclusive interview with Xinhua early last week.

The fault line-centered experimental tourist zone, which will extend to cover southern Gansu Province and the Hanzhong region of Shaanxi Province. will highlight biological and cultural diversity.

The zone will incorporate quake ruins and conventional scenic sites, including a giant panda habitat and villages of the ethnic Qiang people.

The plan, drafted in June, has yet to win approval from the National Tourism Administration, said Zhang, who added that tourism in Sichuan would take on a brand new look.

Sichuan has about 4,000 scenic sites, many of which are distributed along the faultline. The quake affected 361 of them, most of which have reopened. The quake cost Sichuan's tourism industry more than 50 billion yuan.

Zhang on Tuesday announced that Sichuan would invest about 80 billion yuan (11.6 billion US dollars) to restore its tourism industry.The funding, 30 percent of which comes from the central budget, would be used to rebuild roads, hotels, restaurants and scenic spots.

The earthquake left more than 69,000 people dead in Sichuan and its neighboring regions, with 17,923 still listed as missing.