Travel to Xinjiang gains pace after foreign brands refuse region's cotton
Published: Mar 25, 2021 08:58 PM
Xinjiang Photo: Xinhua

Xinjiang Photo: Xinhua

Travel to Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region gained instant popularity among Chinese tourists on Thursday, which showed their practical support for the region, after some foreign clothing brands announced their refusal to use cotton produced in the region. 

Searches for "where to go in Xinjiang this April" surged 275 percent on domestic travel services platform Mafengwo in the 24 hours ended at 2 pm on Thursday, according to the latest statistics provided by the platform to the Global Times. 

Searches for "free tours in Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture" in Xinjiang jumped 200 percent, the company added. 

Pre-bookings of guesthouses in Xinjiang rose 60 percent on Wednesday and Thursday compared with last month, domestic guesthouse booking platform Tujia told the Global Times. 

On Chinese social media Weibo, many netizens expressed their willingness to "travel to Xinjiang" and showed the hashtag "I support Xinjiang cotton."

These developments came after statements over Xinjiang by several foreign clothing brands, including Swedish clothing giant H&M and US sportswear maker NIKE, which are facing a backlash among Chinese consumers. 

After seeing the announcements by foreign brands, Liu, a 27-year-old Beijing resident, decided to take a road trip with his family to Xinjiang during the five-day May Day holidays. 

"The aim of this round of boycotting Xinjiang cotton by foreign firms is to stir up trouble. Their decisions arose out of their malicious mentality toward China," Liu told the Global Times on Thursday. 

"Due to the safe public order in Xinjiang and its beautiful natural scenery, it's a fabulous choice for travel," Liu said, and he suggested an improvement in the local infrastructure and traffic construction for the region's tourism industry. 

Based on the current visitor traffic in Xinjiang, local tourist sites anticipate a boom this year after the industry was badly hit by the coronavirus. 

"We predict the number of visitors to Keketuohai National Geopark this year will double compared with the pre-virus level in 2019," Geng Xin, a vice president of the geopark, which is located in the South Altay Mountains in Xinjiang, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

Air tickets to Xinjiang have become hard to get as a great number of people have applied to join group tours to the region after the coronavirus was contained within China, Geng said, adding that the park will welcome the first group of about 300 tourists from East China's Shanghai, Jiangsu and Shandong provinces on April 19. 

Geng also suggested that airlines increase flights to Xinjiang because the current transport capacity isn't enough to satisfy the high demand of tourists. 

Chinese low-cost travel agency Spring Tour  told the Global Times it has sent eight tour groups from Shanghai to Xinjiang, or about 200 people, so far this month, increasing eight times compared with the same period of 2019.

Nearly 2,000 tourists have made bookings of group tours from Shanghai to Xinjiang for the April-June period, the airlines added.

Known for its grand natural beauty, Xinjiang received more than 158 million tourists in 2020 despite the coronavirus, and the regional government said it expected to receive more than 200 million this year and 400 million by 2025.