Tourism cooperation agreements were signed between Shanghai and northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Monday as four prefectures in southern Xinjiang, Kashgar, Aksu, Kizilsu Kirgiz and Hotan promoted their attractions to Shanghai Residents.

The agreements were with tourism enterprises in Shanghai which will encourage tourists from the Yangtze River Delta to travel to southern Xinjiang.

Five experts from universities including Fudan and East China Normal University were appointed as Kashgar tourism think-tank experts during the event.

Southern Xinjiang boasts rich tourist resources and a strong ethnic flavor, and its landscapes include the Gobi Desert, snow-capped mountains, lakes and poplar trees on this important stop on the Belt and Road route, said Shi Jiaming, deputy Party secretary of Kashgar and director of the Shanghai headquarters of Xinjiang assistance.

“Tourism assistance to Xinjiang not only boosts its economic development, but also promotes cultural exchanges,” he said.

A Yangtze River Delta alliance on tourism assistance to Xinjiang has been established. Tourist authorities in the region will develop tour routes and products to promote southern Xinjiang as a Silk Road cultural and ethnic tourist destination.

In addition, chartered flights and trains to Xinjiang have been developed and organised under the alliance. A crackdown on irregularities such as random price increases and forced consumption will be conducted, and training of tourism staff in Xinjiang will be beefed up.

“Southern Xinjiang is attractive to Shanghai tourists for its magnificent and breathtaking natural scenery, diversified culture, and magical natural and geographic wonders,” said Cheng Meihong, deputy director of the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism.

“Shanghai and Xinjiang have close exchanges despite the distance, and the city has made big efforts in regard to Xinjiang’s tourism infrastructure construction, Silk Road cultural development, the integrated development of tourism and culture and tourism talent training with fruitful results already achieved,” she said.