The Tukai desert, located 7 kilometers southwest of Huocheng county, is the only desert in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. It covers an area of 130,000 mu (8666.67 hectares).
Blessed with plentiful sunshine, the sandy soil in the desert is loose and natural vegetation covers 35 to 40 percent. The desert also boasts various wild plants and animals.
Tukai has unique natural scenery of snowy mountains, blue skies, green forests, clear rivers and golden sands. Many tourists are lured here to enjoy the extraordinary and distinctive landscapes of camels, desert sunsets, the valley and Ili River.
The desert adjoins five towns and villages. The neighboring farms have been severely hit by desertification, drought and dry-hot winds, which have seriously affected people’s lives and the ecological environment. However, Huocheng county has significantly controlled the expansion of sand by stepping up efforts on anti-desertification projects.
During recent years, the Ili prefecture has held the annual “Tukai desert walking competition” and “Tukai desert SUV competition,” boosting the popularity of desert tourism.
In 2012, 750 million yuan ($122.37 million) was invested to construct a 50-megawatt power station in the desert. The project not only accelerated the development of Ili’s new energy, but also promoted the local tourism industry.