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Zhongwei shares charms of deserts

Updated: 2013-03-14 16:56
By Song Jingli (

Xu Liqun, mayor of the city of Zhongwei,Northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region and deputy to the National People's Congress

Xu: There is a unique, world-class tourist attraction in the city of Zhongwei, – Shapotou, a desert amusement park. It's very beautiful. Tourists say that Shapotou has the finest sand, the thickest sand, the best sand-binding vegetation and is the most accessible. As a result, Zhongwei is viewed as "the city of sand".

You could drift on a sheepskin raft for a hundred miles, enjoying the splendorous views along the Yellow River. You can also stand by the Sculpture of Wang Wei, a poet from the Tang Dynasty (618 A.D.-907 A.D.), where the Tengger Desert, the Yellow River and the Qilian Mountain meet, enjoying the rare beauty of Shapotou.

General speaking, deserts are not good and are not "resources". But Zhongwei has controlled sand well and has turned sand into something good. We have developed a secondary industry and specialty agriculture in the Gobi desert. We have preserved hundreds of square kilometers of desert to develop the tourism industry so that people have the chance to enter the desert hinterland and enjoy the charm of the desert. It took 200 million to 400 million years for the mother of nature to create Shapotou.

It belongs to Zhongwei and it also belongs to the world. We should preserve this unique beauty of Shapotou for future generations, allowing people from around the world to experience the charm of deserts. We should develop the desert in a humble way and avoid impetuous attitudes. We should preserve the original scenery and protect the environment.

Tourism exists and develops because of cultural resources and natural resources. We will try to avoid predatory exploitation and try not to build unnecessary infrastructures. We will try to combine the goals of developing the tourism industry and protecting the environment. We have been making tourism a pillar industry, not only a specialty industry. We have made developing tourism a priority.

We all know that tourism is a "smoke-free factory", which creates "green GDP". Tourism resources can be used in a recyclable and repetitive way. But you need to protect them well. Tourism can bring wealth to people and help the local economy restructure. If tourism develops well, the structure of the whole local economy must be optimized and the growth model must change.

We build and manage the Shapotou tourism area according to international standards. In addition to tourists from China's western regions, we also want to attract tourists from the country's central and eastern regions. We also want to attract tourists from Arabic countries and Muslim regions.

We hope the number of tourists visiting Shapotou will reach 10 million annually. Currently, the number is 2.6 million. The market is huge and it is only the very beginning now.