Visits to grottoes need bookings now

TOURISTS who want to visit the Mogao Grottoes in northwest China's Gansu Province without a reservation will find it hard to enter them since a booking system for the grottoes was launched on Tuesday.  

Liu Huilin, deputy director of the China Dunhuang Studies Institute, said the system aimed to ease the pressure of peak season.  

Researchers have found that besides sand, wind, rain and insects, touching and condensed breathing of visitors were also causes for the deterioration of the grotto murals.  

From 2000, the institute divided its 50 grottoes into eight visiting routes for tourists, but this effort did not curb the pressure from the peak season, when more than 3,000 tourists arrived daily.  

Liu urged Chinese and overseas travel agencies to apply for reservations from the Dunhuang Tourism Bureau. 

The grottoes hold 45,000sq metres of murals and 2,000 figurines made from the fourth to 14th centuries.  

They have been added to Unesco's world cultural heritage list and have attracted thousands of visitors from around the world. – People's Daily 

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