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Lavender boosts tourism in Xinjiang

  URUMQI, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Swathes of beautiful lavender is luring a large number of tourists to Huocheng County in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

  The county is currently in the midst of an international lavender tourism festival, with lavender, local history, local cuisine and folk customs presented to visitors.

  Huocheng is located on the same latitude as Provence in France, allowing them to share similar meteorological and soil conditions. It is the largest lavender production base in China and the third largest in the world. 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.

  In recent years, government authorities guided local farmers towards lavender cultivation, helping them get rid of poverty. So far, about 800,000 tourists have visited the county to see the lavender.