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Tourism boom spurs employment in Xinjiang

Updated: 2014-02-11

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URUMQI, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- The swarming tourist population powered explosive employment growth in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region last year, local authorities said.

 

According to the regional tourism bureau, more than 1.5 million new jobs were generated after the local government invested in tourism related sectors, including home inns and souvenir shops.

 

Officials with the bureau said the Xinjiang regional government allocated 12 million yuan (about 1.96 million U.S. dollars) in developing three holiday resorts, 32 villages, towns and counties, as well as 149 home inns last year.

 

During the week-long Spring Festival holiday alone, which ran from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, domestic visitors to the region surged 15 percent to more than 1 million. They spent 739 million yuan, up over 20 percent on last year.

 

Xinjiang's natural beauty and diversified culture attracted more than 52 million tourists from home and abroad in 2013, a year-on-year increase of 17 percent, government statistics show.

 

Tourists visit the region to enjoy skiing, hot springs and the landscape.

 

Yang Tianshan, owner of a rural home inn at Jimsar County, said all rooms were occupied during the Spring Festival holiday. He hired more than 70 villagers during the holiday to entertain visitors.

 

"So far, Xinjiang's 1,177 home inns have provided about 12,000 jobs for local farmers and herdsmen," said Inam Nesirdin, an official with the local tourism bureau.

 

Xinjiang has a population of over 20 million with more than half being ethnic minorities.

 

"The labor-intensive tourism industry, which has a low market entry threshold is creating a large number of jobs for them," he said.

 

He added that the local government will further build tourist brands, support souvenir manufacturers and shops, as well as train rural people.