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Inland Province Invests Heavily in Tourism

LANZHOU, July 1 -- The inland province of Gansu, northwest China, will pour 50 million yuan (6.024 million U.S. dollars) annually into the construction of infrastructure facilities serving tourism in the coming five years, local sources said.

The move is aimed at continuing to tap into local rich tourism resources and promoting the further development of its tourism industry.

The province has rich tourism resources and a group of them have won fame both in China and overseas, such as the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, Maiji Mountain and the Jiayu Pass section of the Great Wall.

Sources with the provincial tourism administration said the province plans to build the Zhongchuan Airport, located in the provincial capital Lanzhou, into an international airport, and expand the Jiayu Pass and Qingyang airports and reform five military airports into airfields for both military and civilian purposes.

Besides the airport expansion and highway construction, the province will also strengthen the building of water and electricity supply facilities, waste discharge and treatment and the improvement of the environment in scenic spots, according to sources.

This inland province has invested a total of over 800 million yuan (96.38 million U.S. dollars) in the construction of infrastructure facilities serving tourism in recent years, according to statistics.

Statistics for the past five years show that the province earned 6.494 billion yuan from domestic tourists and 157 million U. S. dollars from overseas tourists, with an annual increase rate of 48.4 percent and 15 percent, respectively. In 2000, the province received 7.32 million domestic tourists and 210,000 overseas travelers.

Gansu now has two outstanding state-named tourism cities, four outstanding state-level historical and cultural cities, 23 relics sites under state-level protection and a group of tourism resorts, forest parks and nature reserves.

It is predicted that by 2015, the province's revenue from tourism will reach 24.5 billion yuan (2.95 billion U.S. dollars).

-- source: Xinhua News Agency

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