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Xiangxi: Rising star in tourism

Xiangxi is becoming one of China`s leading tourist areas because of its picturesque landscape, exotic customs and…

Xiangxi is becoming one of China<.>`s leading tourist areas because of its picturesque landscape, exotic customs and places of historical interest, Xiangxi Magistrate Wu Jihai said recently.

Located in northwest Hunan Province in central China, Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture has a total population of 2.6 million, of which 72 percent are minority ethnic groups, mainly Tujia and Miao nationalities.

Our tours focus on the ancient city of Phoenix, as we are trying to make it known worldwide and to have it included on the World Natural and Cultural Heritage list, Wu said.

He said that they also hope to start ecological travel tours along the Mengdong River and plan to hold a series of ethnic festivals this year, including a Miao nationality drum festival.

Major tourist attractions in Xiangxi include Chinese No.1 Rafting on the Mengdong River, the ancient city of Phoenix, and the folk songs and dances in the Miao Village in Dehang.

Xie Zongyin, director of the Xiangxi tourism bureau, said the local government is cooperating with the Zhangjiajie Tourism Development Co. Ltd. to help make Xiangxi a new star in China`s travel industry by combining its cultural heritage with its scenery.

Xiangxi is unique as it combines natural beauty, history and ethnic culture, said Zheng Yan, dean of the tourism school of Hunan Normal University.

However, he warned that these tourist attractions should be protected from over exploitation.

Statistics show that in 2001, about 1.7 million tourists visited Xiangxi, 64 percent up from 2000. The total income from tourism for the same period was 218 million yuan (26 million US dollars), a 103 percent rise.

Travel experts predict 30 million tourists will visit Xiangxi in 2005.

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Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.