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Tibet receives record number of tourists

(Xinhua)

16:07, December 07, 2012

Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region has received a record 10 million domestic and foreign tourists so far this year, tourism authorities said Friday.

As of Nov. 30, the total number of tourists visiting the region had surged 22.6 percent year on year to 10.34 million, exceeding 10 million for the first time, said Wang Songping, an official with the region's tourism bureau.

Revenues in the tourism sector increased 33.9 percent year on year to 12.4 billion yuan (1.99 billion U.S. dollars), said Wang.

Wang attributed the boom to nationwide promotion efforts, improved transportation access and an increasing number of individual trips.

Tibet is situated on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, an area predominantly populated by ethnic Tibetans. Tourist destinations include Tibetan Buddhism heritage sites, such as Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and the Zhaxi Lhunbo Monastery.

Nearly 300,000 people are employed in the region's tourism sector, according to government figures.

The number of tourists traveling to Tibet has grown by an average of 30 percent annually over the past five years. Last year, more than 8.69 million people visited Tibet, bringing in tourism revenues of 9.7 billion yuan. Authorities expect to see 15 million tourists annually by 2015.

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