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Tibet Triples Fixed Assets for Tourism

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 03/01/15; January 15, 2003.]

Xinhua (New China News Agency) - state-run

LHASA, January 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Tourism is becoming one of the pillars of the economy in the Tibet Autonomous Region focusing on its further growth. The sector contributed 6 percent to the region's GDP in 2001, up from 1.5 percent in 1990.

Last year Tibet increased its fixed tourism assets by 233 percent from 300 million yuan (36 million U.S. dollars) in 1989 to 1 billion yuan (120.48 million dollars), and the number of personnel serving in the tourism sector rose from 2,313 to 6,000.

The local government has also stepped up personnel training and tightened control over relevant businesses, according to officials with the regional tourism bureau.

Thanks to these efforts, Tibet received 840,978 tourists in the first 10 months of last year, up 24.5 percent on a yearly basis, noted statistics provided by the regional tourism bureau.

The total included 713,674 domestic tourists, who generated 555.62 million yuan (66.94 million dollars) in revenue for Tibet's treasury, up 28.8 percent and 36 percent respectively. Also included were 127,304 tourists from overseas, who brought 50.84 million dollars in income for the region, up 4.6 percent and 11.8 percent respectively.

Currently, Tibet has 180 tourist agencies, up from 13 in 1988 when the region first started to tap its tourism resources at a faster pace.

The regional government has worked out a series of preferential policies to encourage investors, both at home and from abroad, to back local tourism in different ways, including setting up wholly-owned firms and equity and non-equity joint ventures.

Better transport has also contributed to the growth in tourism.

Regular flights and chartered air services are available from Lhasa, the regional capital, to such major Chinese cities as Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi'ning, Xi'an, Kunming, Chongqing and Hong Kong, as well as Kathmandu in Nepal.

Tourist buses are running shuttle services on the highways from Tibet to its neighboring Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces plus Nepal. The construction of the Nyingchi Airport and the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is now under way and is expected to complete in a few years.

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