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China launches Kazakhstan tour

URUMQI, Aug. 6 (Xinhua)-- The first Chinese tour group to go on an organized trip of Kazakhstan left on Saturday for the central Asian neighbor.

The 55 tourists, organized by China National Travel Service (HK) Group, flew to Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, from the international airport in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, at 1:36 p.m. Saturday.

They are among nearly 300 tourists to visit the region, a trip organized by six travel agencies. The other groups will start their trips over the following three days.

The tour follows a memorandum on Chinese-Kazakhstan tourism cooperation, signed between the two countries in December.

"My parents studied in Almaty, so my sisters and I have always wanted to go there," said Tong Nina, 70, from Urumqi, who went on the tour with her sisters.

Shi Dagang, vice chairman of Xinjiang regional government, said the tour was an important stage in the China-Kazakhstan tourism development story and the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt.

A senior tourism official with Kazakhstan's Ministry of Investment and Development came to Xinjiang to welcome the first tour group.


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