Urumqi welcomes tourists after May attack

Updated: 2014-06-02 20:10


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URUMQI - A group of nearly 100 tourists from six countries and regions arrived on Monday in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

It is the largest tourist group to visit the city since the May 22 terrorist attack which left 39 civilians dead and 94 others injured.

Zhao Xiuhong, a manager of the Xinjiang subsidiary of the China National Travel Service (HK) Group Corp., said the tourists were mainly from Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and Taiwan.

"The group planned to travel from Xinjiang to Xi'an along the route of the Silk Road and originally had over 200 tourists, but many canceled their trips after the attack," she said. The company's outlets have canceled 30-40 tour groups planned for June.

Shewket Turdi, director of the Urumqi Tourist Bureau, on Monday welcomed the group, and asked the overseas tourists to present Xinjiang's beauty to people in their home countries and region.

"The attack has badly affected Xinjiang's tourism. Xinjiang will try to boost tourism by improving services and offering discounts," he said.

Liu Ying, of the managing committee of Lake Tianchi, a famous tourist destination, said new security equipment worth 100,000 yuan (16,000 U.S. dollars) had been installed in the area.

Summer and autumn are the best seasons to visit Xinjiang, which is counting on tourism as a new economic pillar. Around 52 million tourist visited the region last year, 17 percent up on the previous year.

Direct flights link Urumqi to Taipei. Flights to Turpan, Xi'an, Aksu and Chengdu were launched last year.

Tourist agencies are also promoting Silk Road travel routes linking tourist attractions in Xinjiang with other sites such as the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes in Gansu and the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an.