China's Tibet posts 190% growth in number of visits

created: 2009-06-19

Southwestern China's Tibet Autonomous Region received 720,237 visits from elsewhere in China and abroad in the first five months of this year, a growth of 190 percent on the same period of last year, the local statistical bureau said on Friday.

It reverses the drastic fall in visitor figures last year in the wake of the March 14 Lhasa violence.

According to the local statistics bureau, 4.02 million tourists came to Tibet in 2007, with the sector's revenue reaching 4.85 billion yuan. However, the number of tourists and revenue fell about 44 percent and 53 percent, respectively, in 2008.

This year's total so far includes 22,264 visits from overseas, up 280 percent.

The tourism sector, a major pillar of the regional economy, garnered 436.7 million yuan (63.9 million U.S. dollars) in the five-month period, doubling the year-earlier level, the bureau said.

The growth was thanks to massive promotion efforts and price cuts, Wang Songping, deputy head of the regional tourism administration, told Xinhua Friday.

Bachug, head of the tourism administration of Tibet Autonomous Region, said Tibet suspended visits by foreigners this March for the sake of travelers' safety. The region reopened to foreigners in early April after the month-long suspension.


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