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Winter tours to Tibet to be cheaper this year

The global economic downturn and safety concern are putting a damper on Tibet-bound tourism.

As a result, packages to the plateau region are expected to be much cheaper this winter than last, local tour agencies said Monday.

 Photo shows a Muni Stone (stone plates, rocks or pebbles inscribed with the six syllable mantra of Avalokiteshvara as a form of prayer in Tibetan Buddhism) Pile covered with snow in the Mt. Qomolangma area, Xigaze Prefecture, southwestern Tibet. [Xinhua Photo]

The Shanghai China International Tour Service Co Ltd offered a package price of 3,300 yuan for a 12-day tour. That's down from the usual wintertime price of around 4,000 yuan for last year.

The Shanghai Travel Service Co Ltd said its package to Tibet, which will also last about two weeks, will be about 4,700 yuan (671 U.S. dollars) this winter. Although that's almost the same price as last year, the accommodations will be upgraded to four and five-star hotels.

The winter package season in Tibet Autonomous Region usually runs from November to the end of March, with most scenic spots offering discounts because of the cold weather. Tour agencies expected the market to improve in April.