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Tibet looks to attract 15 million tourists in 2015

Tibet plans to attract 15 million tourists in 2015, generating some 16 billion yuan (2.4 billion U.S. dollars), according to local tourism bureau.

To achieve this goal, the autonomous region will continue to upgrade its tourist facilities and develop more tourist products.

Between 2001 and 2005, the central government earmarked 350 million yuan to Tibet, in China's southwest, to improve its tourism sector.

Over the past five years, the region received 21.25 million tourists, 1 million of which were from abroad. Tourist numbers have increased 30.6 percent each year on average over the period.

A total of 22.62 billion yuan was generated from tourism in the five-year period, with an average annual increase of 29.8 percent.

In 2010 alone, tourists to Tibet numbered 6.85 million, up 380 percent from 2005. In that year 7.14 billion yuan was generated from tourism, up 370 percent from five years earlier.

According to the bureau, tourism accounted for 14.1 percent of Tibet's GDP in 2010.