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Hubei to build airport to boost tourism

2011-03-17 17:28

WUHAN - Central China's Shennongjia Forest District in Hubei province will start constructing an airport in April, sources with the Hubei Development and Reform Commission said Thursday.

The airport will comprise of a 2,800-meter runway, an apron for three aircraft, a terminal of 3,000 square meters and other facilities, said a spokesman with the commission.

The airport, the fifth in Hubei for civilian use, will have an annual capacity of 250,000 passengers and 1,500 tons of cargo upon completion in 2013, the spokesman said.

Projected investment for the airport is 1.04 billion yuan ($157 million).

The airport will shorten travel time from Wuhan, capital of Hubei, to the forest area from a nine-hour drive to about 50 minutes.

Shennongjia Forest District is a county-level administrative unit directly under the Hubei provincial government. It is famous worldwide for the Shennongjia National Nature Reserve, home to the rumored Bigfoot-like ape-man.

Construction of the airport is part of the local government's efforts to boost tourism in the region.

Various facilities such as sewage and garbage processing plants will be installed in tandem with the construction of the airport in order to protect the ecosystem of the primeval forest, which is home to the endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys, said a spokesman with the district's environmental protection bureau.

The district is a well-known tourist destination, with tourism contributing more than 60 percent to its gross domestic product.

However, transportation to the forest area is limited with only road traffic available currently.

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