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08:38 Feb 21 2010

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Markets boom in Tibet during Tibetan new year holiday
08:35, February 21, 2010  

Markets boomed here during the golden week holiday when three festivals coincided on Feb. 14 -- the Tibetan New Year, the lunar New Year and Valentine's Day.

During the holiday week (from Feb. 13 to Feb. 19), thousands of people dressed in ethnic clothes could be seen on the streets, which themselves had been decorated with colorful Tibetan flags for the Tibetan New Year and red lanterns for the Spring Festival.

Spring Festival couplets with blessings in the Tibetan language became the new favorite for the people here.

"The couplets in Tibetan are the best selling goods here. Tibetans love them," said shop assistant Palsha in Lhasan Department Store.

"The couplets combine the Tibetan blessing and the Han style together, which has brought a harmonious atmosphere to the 'intimate contact' of the two festivals," she said.

Apart from new clothes and wines, dozens of other goods are included in Tibetan people's new year purchase list, including goat heads, wheat and nuts.

These goods represent wishes for bountiful harvests and thriving livestock, said a 60-year-old granny named Tseyang in Chomsigkang Market.

"I had to make the festival goods all by myself in the past. But I do not need to worry any more. Plenty of goods are available on the market now. I can buy almost everything I need," she said.

Various goods were brought in by merchants across the country.

On Pargor street, Tibetan herdsman Tashi Dorje sold the Tibetan lucky goat heads while a Uygur vendor named Abdul Eziz Ruz hawked Xinjiang nuts. Nearby, drink seller Ma Lianfang, an ethnic Hui, and tailor Zhang Hongyan, from eastern Zhejiang Province, were busying welcoming customers.

Renxin Trade Development Co. Ltd. estimated that it had sold more than 8,700 tonnes of vegetables and 9,000 tonnes of fruits in Lhasa from Jan. 15 to Feb. 14. It also provided 50 tonnes fruits and vegetables per day to other parts of Tibet, 10 tonnes more than usual.

Not only fresh vegetables, fresh seafood also became popular in the plateau city.

"The seafood came here by planes, just as I did," said a seafood vendor surnamed Xia from south China's Guangdong Province at his store in the Mt. Chakpori market, Tibet's biggest market of farm produce.

Along with the two traditional festivals, young people in Tibet also enjoyed Valentine's Day.

"Tibetan young people have begun to accept foreign festivals. Many young lovers came here to buy jewelry for gifts," said a shop assistant surnamed Chen in Lhasa Department Store.

"They prefer the fashionable platinum jewelry," she said.

While Tibetan people enjoyed their holiday, tourists swarmed to the plateau, boosting the tourism market.

The region welcomed more than 81,000 tourists from Feb. 13 to 19, up 4.6 percent compared to last year, said an official at the regional tourism bureau.

Revenue from tourism during the holiday week reached 55.8 million yuan (about 8.2 million U.S. dollars), a 5.8 percent year-on-year rise, the official said.

The traditional Tibetan festival has become a new attraction for tourists and boosted the region's tourism industry, the official said.

Source: Xinhua

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