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Southern Xinjiang a summer hit with tourists

China Daily| Updated: July 20, 2021

Natural beauty, varied traditions, culinary delights attracting more visitors than ever

As summer sets in, tourists have begun flocking to southern Xinjiang to enjoy the region's unique atmosphere, born of its special location and culture.

In Kashgar, China's westernmost city, which enjoys up to 18 hours of sunshine during the summer, tourists wander the mazelike alleys of the Ancient Town, which dates back some 2,000 years. Immersing themselves in neighborhoods that are somewhat reminiscent of the Middle East, they can sample Uygur delicacies, which offer new taste experiences.

Statistics show that there were more than 8.6 million tourist visits to the city in the first six months of this year, an increase of more than 60 percent compared to 2019, while revenues also grew nearly 20 percent.

For self-driving tour enthusiasts, the Dushanzi-Kuqa Highway, which winds through the Tianshan Mountains that separate northern and southern Xinjiang, is a must-see. Due to erratic weather conditions in winter, the road is only open to the public during the summer, but that only increases the desire to take advantage of the opportunity to drive this beautiful road.

Hailed by many as one of the most beautiful highways in China, it zigzags through snow-capped mountains and deep valleys, across rivers, grasslands, forests and deserts, with reddish, striped Danxia and wind-carved Yardang landforms adding to the natural splendor.

The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has been investing in tourism infrastructure in recent years, with homestays, orchards and ancient cultural sites developed along routes. According to the government report delivered by Shokrat Zakir, chairman of the region, Xinjiang aims to welcome 400 million tourist visits annually by 2025.


A couple takes wedding photos in the Ancient Town of Kashgar, Xinjiang, this month. WEI XIAOHAO/CHINA DAILY