Xinjiang Invests in Local Tourism

Urumqi, capital of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has set itself the target of building itself into a famous tourism city, sources with the regional government said.

Yang Gang, secretary of the city committee of the Chinese Communist Party, said the city has decided to allocate 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million) each year to improve local water, electricity and traffic facilities. Preferential policies will be given to those who intend to invest in the city's tourism industry, according to Yang.

Latest statistics indicate that in the first five months of this year, Urumqi, the furthest city from the sea in the world, received 1.26 million domestic and overseas visitors, 30 per cent more than the same period last year.

The city earned nearly 300 million yuan (US$36 million) in this sector during the five-month period.

According to the plan, construction of tourism projects will be carried out in Dabancheng, an important post on the ancient Silk Road that connected China with Central Asia, North Africa and Europe.

The projects include a world-class hunting field, with an investment of 200 million yuan (US$24.1 million), a cultural centre, covering more than 30 hectares and consisting of a music hall named after famous Chinese musician Wang Luobin, and a showroom housing folk art and customs from 13 ethnic minority groups.

The regional bureau of communications plans to invest 12 million yuan (US$1.45 million) to improve roads leading to Dabancheng, which is near Urumqi.

At the same time, Xinjiang Shoude Company will invest 380 million yuan (US$46 million) building an "Asian Park" in Urumqi where visitors can enjoy and appreciate folk culture from 48 countries.

A businessman from Hong Kong has decided to invest more than 200 million yuan (US$24.1 million) refurbishing a market famous for selling goods made by ethnic groups in Urumqi, sources said.

(Xinhua News Agency 07/05/2001)

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