China opens new tourist route to help western regions reduce poverty

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China launched an 11,000-km new tourist route Saturday to help its vast western regions in the tough fight against poverty.

Officials from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development attended a ceremony held in Yongjing County, Gansu Province.

The travel route links “three regions and three prefectures”, one of the hardest nuts to crack in the country’s poverty alleviation campaign: Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibetan regions in four provinces, southern parts of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province, Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province, and Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province.

More than 80 percent of these areas are on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, mired in poverty with poor natural conditions and fragile economies, said officials at the launch ceremony.

But with incredibly beautiful landscapes, these regions hold a wealth of tourism resources yet to be tapped, the officials said.

On the route are cities like Lanzhou, Urumqi, Chengdu, Lhasa, Kunming and Xining, as well as tourist attractions including Dunhuang, Kashgar, Nyingchi and Dali. Plateau scenes, Mount Qomolangma, ancient trade routes such as the Silk Road and Tea and Horse Road are some of the highlights.

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