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Tourists welcome to scenic valley in Tibetan-style town
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A famous scenic valley in a Tibetan-inhabited town in southwest China's Sichuan Province is always open to overseas tourists, a local official said Thursday.

"If they (overseas tourists) come here, they will enjoy the most beautiful natural scenery in China and distinctive Tibetan folk culture," said Wen Yong, of the Administration of Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area in the Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba.

He said a month-long travel promotion drive will start on March 15 in the popular tourist destination, which will showcase folk customs of Tibetan and Qiang ethnic groups, such as Tibetan-styled wedding ceremony.

"Tourists can also attend the temple fair to be held in Taru Monatery to experience Tibetan culture," he said.

He said the number of tourists have dropped markedly since the 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck the province on May 12 last year.

Jiuzhaigou, a site on the World Heritage List, is about 200 km away from the epicenter, or Wenchuan County. It did not suffer any damages in the quake, but road links were then cut.

"Now that the quake has past, we hope more tourists both from home and overseas will come here to enjoy the spectacular scenery and unique folk culture," Wen said.

A senior official in the province dismissed Wednesday claims that overseas tour groups are banned from entering Jiuzhaigou.

"There is no such a regulation prohibiting overseas tour groups in the well-known scenic spot," Hou Xiongfei, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Sichuan Provincial Committee of Communist Party of China, told reporters in Beijing.

"We have neither issued any regulation banning overseas journalists from reporting in the province," said Hou, who is a national lawmaker and is in the capital to attend the annual session of the country's legislative body.

(Xinhua News Agency March 13, 2009)

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