Two deserts in north China's Inner Mongolia have been designated as tourist destinations to attract travelers who are interested in exploration.
Ma Yongsheng, deputy director of the Tourism Bureau of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, said on Thursday the bureau had set up direction signs, and rescue and communication facilities in the Tenggar and Hobq deserts.
"The activities organized by travel agencies in the areas designated by the tourism department will be much safer than independent explorations," Ma said.
The Tenggar Desert is China's fourth largest, covering 43,000 sq km. It is interspersed with lake basins and marshes, as well as hills, mounds and plains.
The Hobq Desert, a stretch of 16,100 sq km of shifting sand dunes, is another favourite site for desert explorers.
During the May Day holiday in 2006, one person died and more than 50 were rescued after becoming stranded in the Hobq Desert. The tourists, most of whom were college students, belonged to several self-organized travel groups.
Police have urged increasingly adventurous tourists to exercise prudence before traveling into the deserts.
(Xinhua News Agency May 4, 2007)