(TibetanReview.net, Jan 04) — China has set a rather modest target of three million tourists in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) this year, although it is often given to exceeding targets to boast the success of its policies, projects and efforts. The TAR reported four million tourist arrivals in 2007, with tourism income of over 4.8 billion yuan (about US $702 million) – but only 2.2 million tourists in 2008, a plunge of 69 percent over the previous year, reported China’s online Tibet news service eng.Tibet.cn Jan 3. The decline was attributed to the “March 14 riot”.
The plunge in income from tourism in 2008 was reported to be 72 percent over that in the receding year.
China and its travel businesses in Dec’08 announced cuts in tourism rates to attract more tourists to the region. The report said many hotels in Lhasa had taken 20 to 70 percent off their room rates, while air tickets from Beijing to Lhasa were now available at 70 percent or 80 percent of the original fare. Such rate cuts were announced earlier too.