Tibet to seek ideas for tourism revival

August 25th, 2008 - 8:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Lhasa, Aug 25 (Xinhua) The authorities in Tibet said Monday they would hold a forum to seek ideas for reviving the region’s tourism sector, which has been severely hit following the March 14 disturbances. A Tibet Tourism Bureau official said the forum scheduled for Saturday in the regional capital, Lhasa, would host more than 100 experts, scholars and domestic travel agencies.

In the first half of 2008, the region saw 340,000 tourist arrivals, down 69 percent from the same period last year.

Tourism almost came to a standstill after the March 14 violence, which led to the deaths at least 18 civilians and one policeman, with businesses looted and residences, shops and vehicles torched.

The region re-opened to domestic tour groups April 24, followed by visitors from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan in May and foreign tour groups from June 25.

The regional government has been struggling to boost the industry through subsidies and bonuses.

Gyangkar, the Lhasa City Tourism Bureau chief, said last week the city government had set aside one million yuan ($142,857) in the hope of reviving tourism.

Under the scheme, which runs from Aug 15 to Dec 30, a travel agency can get 50,000 yuan for organising a charter flight with at least 100 overseas tourists or for organising a 600-person train tour.

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