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China says Tibet tourism doubled in last five years, silent on its demographic Sinicization

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(TibetanReview.net, Jan27’22) – Promoted as an attractive destination for tourism and relocation, occupied Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) has been drawing more Chinese visitors and immigrants than ever before over the past several decades. However, the official media focuses only on its promotion as a tourist destination while remaining silent on its success as a new frontier for resettlement for Chinese immigrants, the reason obviously being political especially at a time when President Xi Jinping has launched a new Sinicization drive in the region.

The number of Chinese tourists visiting TAR had doubled in the last five years, said China’s official chinadaily.com Jan 27. However, the number of Chinese immigrants who are now seen to constitute the defining bulk of the urban population of the region remains unknown, with the census figures being not known to be reliable.

Citing an announcement at an annual meeting of the regional people’s congress recently, the report said the region had received more than 41 million tourists last year, with tourism revenues exceeding 44 billion yuan ($7 billion).

The report said TAR has been a popular destination for domestic and overseas tourists for decades due to its rich heritage, natural appeal and unique traditional cultures.

Overseas tourists, required to travel only in groups and obtain a special prior permit to visit it, constitute only a negligible percentage of the tourists visiting the region. As a matter of fact, TAR is known for being the most restricted region for overseas visitors to the People’s Republic of China, being reportedly more closed even than North Korea, especially for UN rights officials, journalists, research scholars, and diplomats.

Citing China’s official Xinhua News Agency, the report said the region had received more than 150 million tourists during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) period. It added that the boom had brought in nearly 213 billion yuan, more than double the amount during the previous Five-Year Plan (2011-15) period.

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