(TibetanReview.net, Jan29’16) – A record 20 million tourists – which is more than 6.6 times the official local population – visited the Tibet Autonomous Region during 2015, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Jan 27. Citing reports presented at the region’s ongoing “two sessions”, namely the regional legislature and political advisory body, the report said tourism revenue during the same year was 28 billion yuan (US $4.26 billion), nearly three times the figure in 2010.
At 15.49 billion yuan, Tibet’s capital Lhasa accounted for most of the tourism revenue. The report added that this was more than a three-fold rise over the past five years.
The report said the average rise in the number of tourists visiting Lhasa over the past five years was 23.32 percent, totalling 11.79 million in 2015.
The vast majority of the tourists visiting the region are Chinese. Tourists from other foreign countries have to travel in groups and with a prior separate permission in addition to their Chinese visa. This enables China to strictly control such tourists as well as to prevent known journalists, human rights activists and other people disapproved or blacklisted by it from visiting the region.