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Covid-infested China launches campaign to boost winter tourism in Tibet

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(TibetanReview.net, Jan02’23) – If China is finally letting its citizens to travel abroad after lifting its draconian Covid-19 restrictions of the past three years or so just when cases are exploding beyond the capacity of its healthcare infrastructure to handle and morgues and crematoriums to dispose of, there is no reason why it would restrict travels to Tibet. The tourism department of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) has just announced the launch from Jan 1 of a new round of its Winter Tour Campaign to attract more visitors to the region in the winter time, said the official chinadaily.com.cn Dec 29.

The Chinese government of TAR has been launching such a campaign to attract tens of millions of tourists, who are predominantly from China, each year. This year’s campaign will run until Mar 13.

The report cited the department as saying the winter tour will offer bonuses for certain businesses supporting tourism in TAR. Tickets to visit the Potala Palace in Lhasa and other scenic sites in the region will be free. Visitors will only need to show their IDs for entry during the period.

Besides, some designated hotels and tourism transport companies will implement the off-season winter price model. Hostels and airline companies meeting requirements will benefit from bonuses and subsidies offered by the government, the report said.

The report noted that TAR is a major tourist destination for tourists from around the world, but it has seen fewer visitors during winter months, with tourism-related businesses remaining closed for months in the past.

The main hurdle for non-Chinese foreign tourists is that they can only travel in groups to approved destinations organized by government-registered tour agencies and on special entry permits, in addition to their visas, to visit TAR.

Tourism in TAR received a big boost after the regional government launched its first Winter Tour Campaign in Feb 2018, when it began offering differential pricing on tourism products, including free entry to several scenic spots, hefty discounts on hotels, flights and transportation in winter, the report said.

Citing Tibet Commerce Daily, the report said that during the Spring Festival holiday earlier this year, TAR received more than 438,000 domestic and overseas tourists, an increase of 40% year-on-year. And tourist spending during the period was stated to have logged 315 million yuan ($45 million), a 46% jump over the previous year.

The report cited Wang Songping, head of the regional tourism development department, as saying the upcoming tourism campaign will promote demand and help the region to revitalize its tourism industry.

“We expect that more tourism-related operations in the region will see more business opportunities with the campaign,” Wang has said.

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