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Foreigners make up ten percent of visitors to Tibet

updated: 2009-04-20

One out of ten visitors to Tibet is from a foreign country after the region reopened to foreign tourists or tourists from China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan in early April.

Foreign tourists may get into the southwest China's region as of April 5 after it lifted a month-long suspension.

As the impact of last year's March 14 riots in Lhasa was over and it is becoming warmer, tourism in Tibet is beginning to enter the peak season.

Foreign tourists like Tibet very much, said Yu Xungui, deputy director of the Tourism Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region.

In early April alone, the region received about 20 foreign tourist groups every day, each with 100 members on average.

Yu said that as 2009 is the year for ecotourism in China, Tibet has underscored the theme and introduced a series of eco-travel routes. For example, it has opened special routes like hiking along the grand Yarlung Zangbo River Valley, tours in the holy city of Lhasa and eco-travel to Mt. Qomolangma.

A total of three million Chinese and foreign tourists are expected to visit the region in 2009, he estimated.

To attract more visitors, the region has taken favorable measures including a series of promotions. For instance, tickets to major ecotourism scenic spots will offer a 40-percent discount, while hotels and restaurants will give customers 50-percent discount.

As the "heaven lake" Namtso Lake reopened to the public and the May day holiday (from May 1 to May 3) is approaching, the number of tourists to Tibet will post a 30-percent increase, according to local travel agencies.

During the annual traditional Shoton Festival (Yogurt Festival) to be held in Tibet in August, locals will sing and dance to present the best image of the region, said Yu. He expressed the hope that more people will come to the region to experience Tibet's fine culture.

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1.Tibet tour guide