Attacks can’t stop tourists to Xinjiang, say officials
Updated: 2011-08-04 13:54
By Sun Yuqing (chinadaily.com.cn)
The recent attacks in Hotan and Kashgar in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region will not affect tourism targets, said Chi Chongqing, Party chief of the regional tourism bureau.
The number of international tourist visiting Xinjiang exceeded 423,500 in the first half of the year, an increase of 20.84 percent year-on-year, and domestic tourists hit 13.3 million, 32 percent higher than the previous year, Chi said.
Xinjiang aims to attract 1.3 million international tourists and 35 million domestic tourists in the year of 2011, with a total tourism income of 36 billion yuan. Chi said Xinjiang's travel usually peaks in the third quarter, but this year the peak period will arrive two months earlier, so there will be no problem reaching the target.
"Xinjiang covers one sixth of the country. The terrorism attacks by a small group of rioters can not change the overall situation in the vast Xinjiang region. Terrorism can not be eradicated in the short term, but nothing can stop the robust growth of Xinjiang."
Chi said Xinjiang already plans to limit the number of visitors to Kanas Lake to 10,000 as currently 7,000 to 8,000 tourists visit the lake - known for elusive mystical creatures – every day. Although there are more flights to Xinjiang, including the recently added flights by South China Airlines, air tickets to Xinjiang are still hard to get, according to Chi.
Shaking off its reliance on oil, accounting for 60 percent of Xinjiang's GDP, the region has carried out a series of measures to promote its tourism with the support of central government and other provinces. Under a "pairing assistance" program, 19 provinces and cities are each required to help support the development of different areas in Xinjiang.
In May, the regional tourism bureau assigned 100 people in five teams to 21 provinces to introduce the rich tourism resources. While different theme-based cultural festivals are held in Urumqi, Turpan, Altay, Hami and other cities such as the international dance festival in Urumqi and the beer festival in Wusu, northwest of the capital.
"We are very confident about Xinjiang's tourism industry," Chi added.