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Xinjiang reopens outdoor scenic spots

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China’s northwestern province resumes inter-provincial travel, tours; flight booking surge 120%

Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region reopened from Wednesday outdoor scenic spots to visitors and resumed inter-provincial tours, according to the region’s cultural and tourism department.

To boost the recovery of tourism, scenic areas in Altay Prefecture, Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture, the Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture of Bayingolin, and other places are rolling out preferential tourism packages.

The reopened scenic areas in the region, travel agencies, and other related enterprises are required to take strict precautions for coronavirus pandemic control, while proper measures for personal protection and social distancing are required for tourists.

Xinjiang has adopted a series of supervision and accountability measures, requiring administrative departments of tourist attractions to improve service quality and ensure proper management.

The region boasts rich natural resources and marvellous landscapes, making tourism one of the fastest-growing industries. In the first 10 months of 2019, Xinjiang received around 200 million tourists, up by 42.62 per cent year on year basis, a new record high. 

Searches for air tickets to Xinjiang on online travel app Qunar surged 300 per cent on a daily basis as of Wednesday, while bookings for flights to Xinjiang increased 27 per cent, Qunar told the Global Times Wednesday.

This followed the local regional culture and tourism authority’s announcement on Wednesday that all outdoor scenic spots in Xinjiang have reopened to the public and inter-provincial tourist businesses resumed starting from the same day, as the region brought the latest COVID-19 outbreak under control.

The travel platform said that travelers from Beijing, Xi’an in Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province and Shenzhen in South China’s Guangdong Province are the most active.

Bookings for flights from Beijing to Urumqi, soared 120 per cent and those from Xi’an to Urumqi were up 77 per cent, according to Qunar.

Apart from large airports such as Urumqi Diwopu International Airport, searches for other Xinjiang airports on Qunar also posted fast gains. It said that searches for Altay Airport increased 80 percent, while those for Karamay Airport rose 60 percent.

As Xinjiang made phased achievements on COVID-19 prevention and announced that daily activities could go back to normal, starting from Wednesday, all outdoor scenic spots are open to tourists, the regional culture and tourism department announced on Wednesday, ts.cn reported. 

Data from another online travel service app Mafengwo showed that searches for Xinjiang-related tourism products surged 71 percent on a daily basis on Wednesday.

Xinjiang local authorities held a video conference Tuesday night to announce the region’s return to normal life and production activities, according to media reports.

As of Tuesday, 804 COVID-19 patients and 229 asymptomatic carriers had been discharged from hospitals. As of Wednesday, Xinjiang had reported zero new infections for 17 consecutive days. 

The culture and tourism department also demanded that scenic spots, tourist agencies and related companies abide by the requirements of the laws and regulations on infectious diseases and guideline on prevention of the novel coronavirus in scenic spots to ensure prevention work and safety of tourists.

Tourists are also urged to follow prevention measures, including having their body temperatures taken, showing the health code, maintain social distancing and abiding by prevention requirements, according to ts.cn.

Summer and autumn are the busiest tourism seasons in Xinjiang, with thousands of tourists coming to visit from across China. In 2019, the region saw more than 200 million trips made, generating over 340 billion yuan ($49.8 billion) in income. 

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