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Xinjiang tourism improving, expanding

  One of Xinjiang's most attractive travel destinations, Wucaitan, or "Colorful Beach", is receiving 40 million yuan ($5.85 million) in investment this year from the government for infrastructure renovations and service upgrades, in the hope of attracting more tourists from home and abroad.

  Located in Burqin County of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Wucaitan is renowned for its multicolored landscape created by years of water and wind erosion.

  "We plan to renovate the walkways, as some are always crowded and no longer meet growing demands for sightseeing, and also set up more service stops that contain local cultural elements, such as bookstores," said Ye Suqin, head of the Burqin tourism bureau.

  The local government is also making moves to improve accommodation services for tourists. Starting this May, Burqin carried out inspection tours to local restaurants, checking hygiene, facilities and services.

  The county also requests local hotels enhance heating services, as temperatures in winter can drop to -30 C.

  The boom in tourism has also brought benefits to local residents and nearby villages. According to Ye, many people in Burqin now run businesses in the hotel, restaurant, and travel agency sectors.

  Ye said tourism-related income now counts for about 35 percent of local farmers and herdsmen's total income.

  Zhang Guoqing, 63, visited the colorful beach during his road trip with other seven friends.

  "We drove two cars, departed from Inner Mongolia autonomous region, drove through Jiayu Pass and arrived in Xinjiang following the ancient Silk Road," he said. The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes linking China with Central Asia and Europe.

  "We stopped at the Colorful Beach because we've heard about it for so long. The visit, however, was even better than we expected," Zhang said. "We heard at the information center there will be future renovations. We will probably visit again for a even better experience."