Official: Tibet to reopen to overseas tourists soon 2008-04-27 21:38:30   Print

Special report: Tibet: Its Past and Present

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)
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    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 unrest.

    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.

Editor: Amber Yao
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