(TibetanReview.net, Nov09, 2018) – In order to promote winter tourism, China has begun offering free entry to the Potala palace, the historical winter palace of the Dalai Lamas, for tourists from Nov 1 to Mar 15 next year. As in past several years, numerous other attractive concessions are also being offered, including reduced fares for air and road travels as well as for hotel accommodations by no less than 50 percent. A record 31.025 million tourists were stated to have visited the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in the first nine months of this year.
During this “Winter Tourism in Tibet” programme, tourists could use their identification cards to obtain free visitors’ tickets at the ticket window, reported China’s online Tibet news service eng.tibet.cn/eng Nov 8, citing the tourism department of Tibet Autonomous Region.
The ticket price for visiting the palace during the tourism season of May 1 to Oct 31 was 200 yuan while during the off-season period of Nov 1 to Apr 30 of the following year it used to be 100 yuan per visitor, the report noted.
The government apparently expects large numbers of visits to avail the free entry facility. The report said that emergency measures would be implemented when the number of visitors exceeds 5000 per day during the free entry period. It said this would include using the recently introduced No. 2 visitor route, newly opened in August, to allow an additional number of 2000 visitors per day.
The report added that the palace would be closed to further visitors if the number of visitors exceeded 7000.
Meanwhile, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported Nov 8 that a record 31.025 million tourists from China and other foreign countries visited the TAR in the first nine months of this year, a year-on-year growth of 29.9 percent. Citing date released by the Commission of Tourism Development of TAR, the report added that total tourism revenue reached 44.94 billion yuan (nearly 6.5 billion US dollars) in the three quarters, up 29.8 percent year-on-year.
The report added that in order to give a further boost to year-round tourism in the TAR, all three-star tourist sites and above (excluding temples) will be free of charge within the “Winter Tourism in Tibet” programme period.
The report said that during these four and half months, star hotels and international hotels in the TAR, as well as tourist transport companies will keep their pricing under 50 percent of their busy-season ticket costs. Besides, airlines will offer an average flight discount of no less than 50 percent of the full price, it added.
In addition, rewards will be provided to tourist companies that handle tourist trips to the TAR with chartered planes and trains, the report said.