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Tibet records all-time high in tourists in 2009

Tibet is expected to receive 5.56 million domestic and foreign tourists persons-time by the yearend, up 147 percent over the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the region earned 5.2 billion yuan (761.28 million U.S. dollars) from its tourism services, a 132 percent rise, according to statistics released at the Tibet Economic Work Conference on Wednesday.


A Tibetan man visits Norbulingka in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, Oct. 8, 2009. [Xinhua/Jogo]

"Tibet posted an all-time high number of tourists this year," said Zhang Qingli, secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee of the Communist Party of China.

According to Zhang, the region received more than one million tourists in both July and August.

Tourism in Tibet's rural areas has also been growing fast, said Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Government.


Basum Lake in southeast Tibet's Nyingchi Prefecture is seen in this file photo. (Photo: CRIonline) 

About 42,000 farmers and herdsmen have been involved in tourism services in 2009, earning about 260 million yuan. About 10,000 rural households have benefited from the industry.

Tibet's tourism industry, a pillar of Tibet's economy, was adversely affected by last year's Lhasa riots, the May 12 earthquake in neighboring Sichuan Province and the magnitude 6.6 quake in Damxung County, Lhasa, in October.

To attract visitors, the regional government has taken a series of measures, including setting up a special fund to reward those helping restore the tourism market and intensifying its publication of tourist resources.

Earlier this year, Tibet's tourism departments redoubled its efforts to train tour guides and introduced a series of promotion measures, such as publicizing the ecology tourism in the region.

Since winter began in Tibet, Tibet's Tourism Bureau has continued the "traveling to Tibet in winter" campaign and cut the prices for most popular tour routes by 50 percent.