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10:53 Feb 16 2009

Special ReportNetizen's VoiceMedia Voice
English>>Tibet Online
Tibet tourism warms as spring comes
10:53, February 16, 2009  

Tibet saw a 2.2 percent growth in the number of tourists during this Chinese Lunar New Year holiday over last year, according to local tourism authority Friday.

Tourist arrivals from home and abroad totaled 57,625 during the festival, reaping a tourism revenue of 39 million yuan (5.71 million U.S. dollars), up 1.8 percent year on year, figures released by the Tourism Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region show.

Figures also reflected a significant fall in tourism following the March 14 violence in Lhasa last year. Tourism in Tibet fell 44.2 percent in 2008 than the previous year to about 2.25 million, and the total tourism revenue dropped 53.4 percent to about 2.26 billion yuan (330 million U.S. dollars).

To stimulate the crippled travel industry, local tourism authorities started the largest price-cutting campaign in history on Oct. 20.

With the bureau's coordination, travel agencies, guides, major winter scenery spots, hotels and land transportation all lowered prices by 50 percent. Airlines such as Air China, China Southern Airlines and Sichuan Airlines had or will offer special group fare during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday and the coming Tibetan New Year holiday. As a result, the price of a winter tour in Tibet plunged to below 3,000 yuan (439 U.S. dollars), the lowest on record.

The rise of tourist arrivals was first seen in Nyingchi Prefecture, home to the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, which received 24,000 tourists in November, a 4.8 percent increase year on year. The number of travelers also picked up gradually in other parts of Tibet.

Resorts such as Basum Lake, Nanyi Valley, and Yarlung Zangbo River Grand Canyon have become popular attractions, said Wang Songping, the bureau's deputy head.

"It is expected that more tourists will come to feel the special Tibetan culture during the Tibetan New Year holiday," said Wang.

There will be a week-long public holiday, starting on Feb. 23, in Tibet to celebrate the Tibetan New Year, which falls on Feb. 25 this year.

Source: Xinhua

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