China's quake-hit Jiuzhaigou to reopen to tourists from March 8

Jiuzhaigou National Park, one of China's most popular tourist attractions, will reopen on March 8, exactly seven months after being devastated by a strong earthquake, the authorities announced on Thursday (March 1).

Some of the scenic park's most popular sites, including the Nuorilang Waterfall, Long Lake, Mirror Lake, Five-Colour Lake and Shuzheng Lakes, will be open to the public, the tourism office of the Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture, in south-western Sichuan province, said in a statement.

To protect the site, the office stipulated the following crowd-control and safety measures:

- Only up to 2,000 visitors a day will be allowed to enter the park

- All visitors must have insurance coverage

- Visitors will be required to take the park shuttle bus from one scenic spot to another

- Only group tours will be accepted; no individual tourist will be allowed to enter

- Tickets will be sold solely online at www.abatour.com.

At least 24 people died and nearly 500 were injured when the magnitude 7 earthquake struck Ngawa prefecture - home to many ethnic Tibetans -on Aug 8, causing widespread damage to the park, a Unesco World Heritage site famed for its forested mountains, waterfalls and crystal-clear lakes.

More than 61,500 tourists and migrant workers, including 126 foreigners, as well as 23,500 locals were evacuated.