(Yicai Global) Aug. 8 -- Holiday makers in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are likely to cut short their breaks and return home ahead of schedule as the popular tourism destination in China’s northwest is hit by a new outbreak of Covid-19, the founder of a local travel agency told Yicai Global.
Xinjiang, which lies on the ancient Silk Road and boasts a rich cultural heritage as well as dramatic landscapes, is a popular getaway for many Chinese families during the summer. But with the latest flare-up and with the new school term about to start next month, the holiday season is likely to end 10 days earlier than expected, said Zhang Daoshun of Ximei Travel.
On Aug. 6, the region detected another 52 asymptomatic cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total to 205 infections, according to the local health commission. The majority of these, some 189, are in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture.
As a result, all scenic spots in Ili have been ordered to limit the number of tourists and to stagger their visits across different times during the day. All visitors must have negative Covid-19 tests as well as green health and itinerary codes, the local government said on Aug. 7.
It will be a big blow to local industries as summer is peak season. Last year, Ili received 51.1 million tourists, generating CNY30.7 billion (USD4.5 billion) in revenue.
Xinjiang has become a popular destination since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, which prevented overseas travel, said Zhang. This year has been particularly good, and his firm has received a record number of bookings. On average, each tourist spends an average of CNY10,000 (USD1,500), he added.
Fresh flare-ups have affected travel to many popular holiday destinations, Zhou Weihong, deputy general manager of Spring Tour, told Yicai Global. These days his company mainly offers tours to relatively safe places, such as southwestern Yunnan and Qinghai provinces.
Editors: Shi Yi, Kim Taylor