Tibet to open up further for overseas tourists this year

Tibet, which is experiencing a tourist boom, will open up further to the outside world and attract more visitors from aboard this summer, state-run China Daily quoted Padma Choling, chairman of the Tibet region legislature as saying.

In 2010, the central government proposed making the region a major global tourism destination, and from January to November last year, it received more than 190,000 overseas tourists, the local tourism bureau said.

Tibetan authorities expect the tourism industry’s contribution to local GDP to climb to 20 per cent by the end of 2015, with the number of overseas tourists expected to account for more than 10 per cent of the total, generating more than 15 per cent of revenue.

Tibet has a host of tourist attractions, including the highest peak Mt Everest called Qomolangma, the Brahmaputra Grand Canyon; and the Potala Palace, the home of Dalai Lamas.

“Tourism will further open up to the world from this summer,” he said adding that summer will be the starting point, as conditions in winter are harsh.

In 2012, Tibet attracted a total of 10.58 million visitors, an increase of 21.7 per cent year-on-year, generating 12.64 billion yuan (USD two billion) revenue.

While the Himalayan region is mostly open to Chinese tourists, foreigners must apply for entry permits.

“The (Tibet) autonomous region has to further open up to ensure the tourism industry develops in the right direction,” Choling said.

Without further opening-up, the tourism industry won’t make any breakthrough and it will be difficult to build Tibet into a global tourism destination, he said.

But, Choling said, the opening-up should abide by State foreign policies first and “fit the local situation” as Tibet is a border area.

“The prerequisite of opening-up is to upgrade service facilities and service capabilities to match the requirements. And we have to protect national territory at the borders,” he told the daily.

[Source: China Daily]


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