Gong, who has great confidence in Xinjiang's tourism industry, said: "It's now more convenient for visitors to come to the region. The travel experience has been significantly advanced, and I hope there will be more improvements."
Min Xiaoli, a tour guide from Urumqi, said, "The most striking aspect of the highway is the unique scenery, which suddenly changes as you go through the mountains."
She said the region attracts visitors of all ages, including some in their 60s and 70s who want to fulfill their dream of traveling on the highway after retirement. While many younger visitors drive themselves, middle-aged and elderly arrivals tend to opt for group tours.
"Xinjiang is a destination that offers a comprehensive travel experience, with its ethnic groups, religions and different cultures. Visitors really need to experience these cultures, rather than merely take in the beautiful scenery," Min said.
She added that COVID-19 prevention and control policies in Xinjiang have relaxed greatly compared with last year, and all such measures in the region are now being carried out in "a more scientific and precise way".
Min said that due to sporadic outbreaks of COVID-19 in some big Chinese cities, which are the major source markets for visitors to Xinjiang, other policies are also aimed at encouraging locals to tour the region.