report: Tibet: Its Past and
A lama turns the prayer wheels at the
Sera Monastery in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous
Region, on April 28, 2008. The Sera Monastery, one of the leading
monasteries in the region, was reopened to believers and tourists on
Monday. (Xinhua Photo)
LHASA, April 27 (Xinhua) -- Tibet will reopen to
overseas tourist groups soon, as life is returning to normal, a local tourism
official said on Sunday.
"The first domestic tourist group since the March 14
riot arrived in Lhasa on Thursday, and we are going to receive overseas tourist
groups in the very near future," said Zhanor, deputy director of the Tibet
Autonomous Regional Tourism Bureau, without naming a date.
"Tourists need not worry about their safety in
Tibet," he said.
"Tibet will keep its image as a safe, healthy and
civilized tourist destination."
After the riot, the regional government stopped
issuing tourist permits to foreigners and the 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
The remote southwestern Chinese region received 4
million tourists from both home and abroad in 2007, up 60 percent from 2006. The
tourism revenue reached 4.8 billion yuan (687 million U.S. dollars), 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.