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China-Myanmar border region aims to attract 15 mln tourists

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KUNMING, June 27 (Xinhua) -- China's lush tropical border region Xishuangbanna aims to boost infrastructure development to attract about 15.5 million tourists, including 500,000 foreign tourists, annually by 2015, a local official said Wednesday.

Lu Yonghe, deputy head of Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture, which borders Myanmar and Laos to its south, said the government plans to make Xishuangbanna a resort region in line with international standards, as the area boasts natural beauty and an abundance of relaxation and hospitality facilities.

In the next five years, Xishuangbanna plans to construct more than 10 top tourist destinations and attract more than 10 globally-recognized hotel chains, Lu said.

Xishuangbanna is part of a large tropical virgin forest that covers southwest China's Yunnan province as well as northern Myanmar and Laos. It is home to diverse wild plant and animal life, particularly endangered Asian elephants, but tourist infrastructure is relatively poor in the region.

More than 10 million domestic tourists and 290,000 foreign tourists visited Xishuangbanna in 2011, contributing more than 10 billion yuan (1.57 billion U.S. dollars) to the local government's tourism revenue, Lu said.

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