China opens Tibet for tens of millions of Chinese tourists amid looming Covid-19 concerns

Tourists visit the iconic Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. (Photo courtesy: AFP)

(, May07’20) – More than 55,500 mainland Chinese visited Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) during the five-day May Day holiday which began on May 1, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency May 7, citing the regional civil aviation department. The regional government had reopened natural scenic areas in many places across the region to welcome the visitors, Xinhua earlier reported May 2.

While many of the visitors were reported to have been self-driving travellers, airports in TAR saw 517 flights landing and taking off during the period, the reports said.

The total number of air passengers was put at 55,517.

And ahead of the region’s peak tourism season, the regional government adopted, from May 3, its summer-autumn flight schedule, adding seven new air routes and linking it with more cities that included Xuzhou, Zhanjiang and Zhuhai.

The report said the number of flights to Beijing, Chengdu and Shijiazhuang was also increased.

The reports did not say what measures, if any, were in place to protect the region from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tens of millions of Chinese are expected to visit the region, with the local Chinese government being anxious to beat last year’s record of more than 40 million visitors.

TAR has been free of Covid-19 infections save for one (since cured) case of a visitor from China. However, though China has already declared victory against the pandemic, caution against a second deadly spread is the watchword even from Chinese experts.


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