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Spring Festival Tourism Booms in Quake-hit Sichuan

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Tourism booms in southwest China's quake-hit Sichuan Province during the seven-day Lunar New Year holiday despite sharp temperature fall.

The province received 19.38 million tourist arrivals from Feb. 13 to Feb. 19, a rise of 17 percent year on year. The province's tourist income increased 23.8 percent to reach 5.8 billion yuan (US$852 million), said an official of Sichuan Tourism Administration.

Tourists were attracted by the new looks of the areas after reconstruction, the official said.

Areas in the province stricken by the deadly earthquake in 2008, which killed nearly 70,000 are also seeing a tourist boom. Six seriously hit areas, including Chengdu, Deyang, Mianyang, Guanyuan, Ya'an and Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, welcomed 8.16 million tourist arrivals during the holiday, a rise of 14.5 percent year on year.

The total tourist income rose 26.7 percent year on year to reach 2.3 billion yuan (US$338 million), the official said.

(Xinhua News Agency February 20, 2010)