Domestic tourists to boost Xinjiang’s economy during National Day
Domestic tourists to boost XinJiang’s economy during National Day
Published: Sep 20, 2020 06:30 PM

Farmers dry edible peppers in the open air in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Saturday. It's the peak season for harvesting and roasting the crop, which is widely promoted in local poverty alleviation efforts. Photo: cnsphoto

This year's first travel express train from Harbin, Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, to Altay Prefecture in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region set off on Saturday morning after Xinjiang declared it was free of all COVID-19 cases.

This special rail line, which crosses six provinces and 18 cities in China, is the only tourist train running from Heilongjiang Province to the Altay Prefecture of Xinjiang. More than 580 visitors took the train to enjoy the beauty of the autonomous region, the China News reported on Saturday. 

One of China's most important and best-maintained regions for tourism, Altay Prefecture boasts six AAAAA tourist attractions. Many photos of the prefecture's beautiful landscapes have gone viral on Chinese social media.

The hashtag "Xinjiang Travel Strategy" has earned 350 million views on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. 

Li Dong, deputy manager of the Harbin Railway Tourism Group, told CCTV that the rail line has implemented a series of strict anti-epidemic measures such as regular disinfections and free nucleic acid testing for all the visitors returning from Xinjiang.

Zou Xiangdong, deputy director of the Tourism and Sports Bureau in Altay Prefecture, said that China has 19 provinces that support the economy of Xinjiang. Among them, Heilongjiang Province was the first province to launch a travel express train, according to CCTV. 

Since the first special train was launched in 2017, the railway department has transported 15,000 tourists from Heilongjiang Province, driving tourism consumption of 30 million yuan ($4.43 million), according to reports.

Chinese tourists are currently preparing for the upcoming eight-day-long holiday that will kick off on China's National Day on October 1, 2020.

According to the Group, a Chinese travel agency, due to the coronavirus, small privately booked group tours have become more popular than general group tours. Data shows that the number of bookings for National Day private group tours has increased by 122 percent year-on-year in 2020.

Since many scenic spots need to be pre-booked and due to daily visitor caps, ticket sales for the National Day holiday began in late August and reached a peak in mid-September. 

The scenic spots in Central China's Hubei Province have also grown popular, mainly because the nearly 400 A-level scenic spots in the province are free of charge for domestic tourists, while the province itself has launched a platform to allow tourists to make advance reservations. The platform shows that more than 3.74 million ticket reservations have been booked for the province's capital of Wuhan.

Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan has become the highest-ranking scenic spot in terms of popularity in China, followed by Disneyland in East China's Shanghai Municipality and the Terracotta Warriors Museum in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, according to the Group.