Road to prosperity
The popularity of the Dushanzi-Kuqa Highway has enabled locals to earn a good living by joining the tourism industry.
For example, Beishan, the first village in Kuqa that tourists pass through when they enter southern Xinjiang, has witnessed far-reaching changes over the past year.
In June last year, the village committee invested more than 10 million yuan ($1.50 million) in renovating the area and upgrading infrastructure to attract tourists.
The committee invited outside investment and used the village collective's funds to develop the tourism industry from scratch.
Thanks to this booming industry, the collective's income rose to about 350,000 yuan last year, up from 40,000 yuan in 2020.
Some villagers who used to make a living by grazing goats and sheep, or who worked in nearby cities, have opened homestays in Beishan.
Visitors pose for photos in front of the village's colorful murals, which boast themes ranging from ethnic group culture to rural vitalization. These artworks were created in just three months by teachers and students from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.
To cater to tourists, the village has set up a caravan campsite, a horse-riding venue, minsu (Chinese-style bed-and-breakfast establishments) and activities centered on agritainment－entertainment in an agricultural setting. In well-designed minsu, tourists can lie on their beds and view the starry night sky through skylights.