Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Saturday, September 14, 2002

Visitors Flock to North China's Inner Mongolia

The green pastures of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region are attracting a growing number of visitors this year.


The green pastures of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region are attracting a growing number of visitors this year.

According to local sources, the number of tourists to this northern Chinese region increased in July and August by 20 percentfrom the same period last year.

Bater, general manager of the Inner Mongolia branch of China Youth Travel Service, said that his agency alone received more than 5,000 tourists in the first eight months of the year, up 20 percent from the same period last year. Most of the tourist groupswere from Southeast Asia. The number of tourists from Japan increased significantly.

In Hohhot, the regional capital, the occupancy rate of some 40 star-rated hotels has remained above 95 percent since July, and atthe Baita Airport of Hohhot, the number of seats sold on flights from Hohhot to other scenic sites of the region, including far-flung Hailar City and Xilin Gol Pasture, has been over 80 percent.

Zhao Guanghua, head of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Tourism Bureau, attributed the tourism boom to the growth of grasson the pastures as a result of plenty of rainfall this year and toimprovement of tourist facilities.

According to Zhao, the central Chinese government funneled 85 million yuan (10.24 million US dollars) to support construction ofthe infrastructure at major scenic sites in Inner Mongolia last year.

Zhao predicted a rise of 30 percent in this year's gross earnings from tourism and a tourism revenue in excess of seven billion yuan (about 843 million US dollars) this year.

The region hosted 9.48 million tourists last year, including 400,000 from overseas, and raked in 6.2 billion yuan (about 747 million US dollars) from related tourism services.

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