Xinjiang to offer $80 subsidy to tourists
Updated: 2014-05-28 17:04
By Gao Bo in Urumqi (chinadaily.com.cn)
The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region plans to offer a cash subsidy of 500 yuan ($80) to every tourist to the region, in a bid to revitalize a tourism industry that has been damaged by recent violent terror attacks.
Xinjiang’s tourism has suffered since early this year after a March 1 terrorist attack at Kunming railway station in Yunnan province and a stabbing spree and explosion at Urumqi railway station on April 30, said Inam Naiserdin, director of the Xinjiang Tourism Bureau.
"Last winter we welcomed many tourists coming to ski or skate," the director said. "But since March, inbound tourists have dropped by about 40 percent compared with the same period last year."
The region achieved a good start for visitor numbers in the first quarter of the year despite it being the traditionally slack season for tourism, said Ma Rui, deputy director of the Xinjiang Tourism Bureau.
During that period, Xinjiang welcomed around 6.83 million tourists with 240,000 from foreign countries, representing a nearly 10 percent increase year-on-year, data from the tourism bureau showed.
Since March, however, the industry has suffered.
Chen Jianjun, a leader of a self-driving club, has noticed the drop in tourist numbers over the past two months. The 43-year-old driver said: "During this period last year, I organized a group with 40 off-road vehicles. This month, I only keep a team of 20 vehicles."
To attract more visitors, the tourism bureau has promised a 500-yuan subsidy for each tourist.
Moreover, the region, as a key site along the Silk Road, has started to tap into its Silk Road heritage to create more tourism resources.
Since the beginning of this year, the region has been working toward listing Kazakhstan and seven other neighboring countries as tour destinations.
"We hope to offer international itineraries for inland tourists when they come to Xinjiang," Inam Naiserdin said.
About 1,000 tour guides from more than 100 travel agencies in Xinjiang have joined with tourism personnel in inland provinces to promote the region.
"The management of scenic spots and hotels is good," Inam Naiserdin said. "We welcome all tourists to Xinjiang so you can see for yourselves that travel here is safe."
The government is also encouraging Xinjiang natives to tour their home province.
"This will not only promote tourism in the slack season, but also improve the service level of the industry in an all-round way," Ma said.