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Qinghai Lake Tourist Numbers Boom

 

Northwest China's Qinghai Lake, the country's largest inland lake, received 201,200 tourists in the first half of 2012, a significant annual increase, new data indicated.

The figure is a 15.4 year-on-year increase compared with the corresponding period in 2011, according to Qinghai Lake's tourism management bureau.

Considered sacred by Tibetans, the lake has become a renowned tourist site on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, said Chen Dehui, an official with the bureau.

With years of efforts, the lake has been shaped as a comprehensive scenic resort with major activities such as the Qinghai Lake International Cycling Race and the Qinghai Lake International Festival, he added.

Saltwater Qinghai Lake, at more than 3,200 meters above sea level, covers 4,232 square km.

It is home to 189 species of birds and forms a crucial barrier against the encroachment of the desert from the west.

In the past five years, annual tourist arrivals at the Qinghai Lake scenic area have more than doubled from about 400,000 to 850,000 in 2011.

China in 2008 embarked on a 10-year investment plan to use 1.57 billion yuan to protect the lake, vowing to restore its beauty by protecting its wetlands, reverting pasture to grassland and controlling desertification.