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Xinjiang's tourism to see 'new peak'

A senior official of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional government said Wednesday that tourism is gradually recovering from the deadly July 5 riots and it will reach a "new peak" during the National Day holiday next month.

Kuresh Mahsut, vice chairman of the regional government, said the riot in the regional capital of Urumqi, in which 197 people were killed and 1,600 injured, seriously affected Xinjiang's tourism industry.

"The situation is stabilizing and tourism is recovering as was demonstrated by the successful hosting of the 18th Urumqi Trade Fair, which opened in Urumqi on Monday," he said at a press conference.

"There was no decrease in the number of participants at the fair. In addition to those previously registered, business people came from other countries and regions," he said.

More than 500 businessmen from 29 countries and regions including Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and business delegations from 21 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions across China attended the trade fair.

The five-day trade fair, China's only business event targeting central, west and south Asia, has more than 2,000 exhibition booths. Last year, the exhibition area was 18,800 square meters.

The tourism industry contributes 6 to 7 percent of Xinjiang's gross domestic product (GDP) and is an important source of income for residents.

Thousands of domestic and overseas tourist groups canceled their tours after the riot.

To revive the industry, the regional tourism authority has sought a 5-million-yuan (731,900 US dollars) subsidy from the regional government to help travel agencies survive.

The annual Urumqi Trade Fair first started in 1992. The total value of contracts signed with overseas businessmen at the fair in the past 17 years has reached 31.7 billion US dollars.

(Xinhua News Agency September 2, 2009)