Kashi emerges strongly from COVID-19, prepares to welcome tourists
Published: Feb 09, 2023 02:10 AM
A view of the old town of Kashi, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Photo: VCG

A view of the old city of Kashi, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. File Photo: VCG

In front of the old city in Kashi, constant streams of traffic flowed past and visitors stopped to take photos. The prefecture in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has gradually emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit the city in the past three years.

The long-lost hustle and bustle has gradually returned to the region alongside a return to normality, with the city implementing the policy of downgrading COVID-19 management, officials from the epidemic command center of Kashi prefecture told the Global Times on Wednesday.

As the Global Times reporter walked on the streets of Kashi, a flow of tourists from across the country could be seen. Parking lots around the ancient city were filled with cars, and locals laughed and talked to each other while going shopping.

A festive atmosphere could still be felt in the old city as streets were lined with red lanterns after the Spring Festival holidays.

The Taxkorgan Tajik autonomous county in Kashi prefecture, a border county linking China and Pakistan, has not yet started receiving many visitors. The Global Times learnt that the local tourism industry will gradually recover and it may fully return to its normal prosperity around summer time.

It is estimated that the number of visits received by the prefecture throughout the year will reach 200 million.

At the beginning of the new year, the whole region achieved a "good start" in attracting investment, with new project signings exceeding 80 billion yuan ($11.78 billion). The total value of foreign trade this year is expected to reach 49.31 billion yuan ($7.26 billion), accounting for 20 percent of Xinjiang's total foreign trade value.

The pandemic reached its peak in the prefecture from December 25, 2022 to January 1, 2023, and then continued to show a downward trend. As of Wednesday, the rate for positive COVID-19 infections is below 1 percent.

"The intensity of the epidemic is gradually flattening, and the epidemic situation is generally stable," the epidemic command center said.

In the past three years, Kashi has frequently been hit by waves of the pandemic, which often brought the region back to quasi-lockdown mode, resulting in closure of businesses and suspension of classes.

With COVID-19 effectively contained and pro-growth incentives in place, hospitality businesses across China are seeing vitality return to areas once hit by the epidemic.