Tibet to reopen to overseas tourists soon: official

April 27th, 2008 - 9:12 pm ICT by admin  

Lhasa, April 27 (Xinhua) Tibet will reopen to overseas tourists soon as life is returning to normal, the regional administration said Sunday. “The first domestic tourist group since the March 14 riots arrived in Lhasa Thursday, and we are going to receive overseas tourist groups in the very near future,” said Zhanor, deputy director of Tibet’s Tourism Bureau, but did not give a date.

Urging tourists not to worry about their safety in Tibet, he said the region will “keep its image as a safe, healthy and civilized tourist destination.”

After the riots, the regional government stopped issuing tourist permits to foreigners and tourism authorities suggested travel agencies postpone organizing tour groups.

It cited safety concerns and the reconstruction of tourism facilities around scenic spots damaged in the unrest.

The remote southwestern Chinese region registered four million domestic and overseas tourist arrivals in 2007 - up 60 percent from 2006.

Tourism revenue reached 4.8 billion yuan ($687 million), accounting for more than 14 percent of the region’s gross domestic product.

With tourism heavily hit in the wake of the riots and foreign tourism suspended, the region still received 130,100 tourists in the first quarter, including 124,200 domestic tourists and 5,900 foreigners - up 9.9 percent and 59.8 percent year on year, respectively, Zhanor said.

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