China / Society

Xinjiang 'safe for tourists'

By Xu Jingxi in Guangzhou ( Updated: 2014-07-23 22:37

Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region is a safe destination for tourists, an official from the region's tourism administration said at a promotional conference in Guangzhou on Tuesday.

"None of the violent terrorist attacks in Xinjiang in recent years happened in tourism areas and none of them targeted tourists," said Ma Rui, vice-inspector of Xinjiang's tourism administration.

"To ensure tourists' safety, our administration has organized staff members of tourism areas to conduct security drills many times. Bus companies, travel guides and star-rated hotels must upgrade their security equipment. Travel agencies will also use safe routes when they draw up their travel plans."

Ma said the number of tourists from Guangdong province to Xinjiang in the first six months of this year saw a year-on-year decline due to the negative influence of violent terrorist attacks during the period.

"However, as the peak season for Xinjiang tourism arrives, the market has been picking up since late June." For example, more than 10,000 tourists from Taiwan visited Xinjiang in June, year-on-year growth of 53.51 percent, Ma added.

China Southern Airlines launched direct flights from Urumqi to Taipei in March 2013, as did China Airlines in Taiwan three months later, shortening the journey between the two regions from 10 hours to six.

To further boost the tourism industry during the peak season, members of the Xinjiang Hotel Association are offering discounts of 40 percent on accommodation compared to the same period in previous years. Bus companies are providing similar discounts.

Self-drive travel and photography tours are becoming increasingly popular among tourists to Xinjiang.

Ma reminded these tourists not to travel alone to remote areas and advised them to visit scenic spots that are graded A and above.

Guangdong province has been assigned by the central government to help the development of Kashgar prefecture in Xinjiang.

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