Zone of Peace
Tibet Officials Claim Qinghai-Tibet Railway Boosted Development
January 20, 2007
A senior official in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region has claimed the Qinghai-Tibet Railway has greatly boosted the region's social and economic development since it began operating on July 1 last year.
"The railway promoted Tibet's tourism," said Jin Shixun, director of the region's Development and Reform Commission, at a meeting of the local legislature, the Regional People's Congress.
Tibet received 1.86 million tourists in the second half of last year, up 48 percent from the same period a year earlier, while tourism revenues reached 2.1 billion yuan (270 million U.S. dollars), up 40 percent, according to the regional Tourism Bureau.
The railway also pushed the growth of consumption, which in turn drove the economic growth, Jin said, citing that the operation of the railway helped lower prices and lift purchasing power.
Retail sales stood at 8.56 billion yuan in Tibet last year, an increase of 17 percent from a year earlier. Meanwhile. the region has notched up economic growth of more than 12 percent for the sixth year in a row.
Sonam Puncog, president of the regional Association of Industry and Commerce, praised the railway for helping the private sector achieve a rapid growth in Tibet.
The number of self-employed people was 68,700 at the end of last year, up 11 percent from 2005, and private businesses stood at 3,414, up 29.8 percent.
Taxes paid by private businesses reached 975 million yuan last year, up 41 percent year on year, accounting for 58 percent of the regional total, he said.
"In addition, the opening of the railway enabled more herdsmen and farmers to travel, which broadened their horizons and opened their minds," he said.
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