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Xinjiang welcomes blossom tourist season

  URUMQI, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Huocheng county in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is set to launch its eighth international lavender tourism festival.

  The series of events will last until June 28, featuring lavender, local history, local cuisine and folk customs. The festival will officially open on June 10.

  A lavender-themed museum, the first of its kind in China, will open during the event.

  Huocheng is the largest lavender production base in China. Its lavender planting area has reached 3,500 hectares, accounting for 97 percent of the country's lavender output.

  The county introduced lavender from France in 1965.

  Tourists are swarming to Xinjiang as flowers there are in full bloom. The autonomous region hosted 150 million tourists last year, up over 40 percent year on year.