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Traffic lights alleviate camel congestion at popular desert scenic spot

China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-20 09:07

Tourists ride camels at the Mingsha Mountain and Yueya Spring scenic area in Dunhuang, Gansu province, on Feb 15. ZHANG XIAOLIANG/XINHUA

LANZHOU — A line of camels appeared as silhouettes as the sun set on snow-covered dunes, their bells evoking the grandeur of the ancient Silk Road as they rang through the desert.

But the reason they were stationary had a distinctly modern twist — a camel traffic light.

A red camel signifies "stop", while green indicates "go" following the installation of a dozen camel traffic lights at Mingsha Mountain and Yueya Spring, a scenic spot surrounded by sand dunes in Northwest China's Gansu province.

The unique traffic lights, originally designed to alleviate traffic congestion in the desert, garnered widespread media attention last year and have become a popular tourist attraction.

Wang Youxia, deputy general manager of the company responsible for the scenic spot's operations, said more than 3.7 million tourists visited last year, with 42 percent opting for camel rides. Since December, visitor numbers have surged 22.6 percent compared with the same period in 2019, before COVID-19 became a pandemic.

The substantial increase in tourist arrivals has resulted in significant revenue for local camel herders, with Zhao Wenlong among the beneficiaries.

Zhao, 42, is an experienced camel breeder from the Yueya Spring village who owns 21 camels.

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