(TibetanReview.net, Jan11’19) – With an aim to increase their number by 50 percent, Chinese authorities in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) will halve the time it takes for a foreign tourists applying to visit the region this year, reported China’s official chinadaily.com.cn Jan 10.
Travellers other than from China needs a Tibet travel permits to visit the region in addition to a Chinese visa. And it normally takes at least 15 days for them to receive the permits after submitting all the documents.
The report claimed that the extra requirement was due to the region’s “unique ethnic traditions, cultural heritage, reception capacity and ecological protection needs.”
This fails to explain, however, why only the tens of thousands of visitors from abroad need to be subjected to this additional requirement while the tens of millions of visitors from China are free from this requirement. The real reason is that China wants to weed out applicants who may be journalists, human rights and environment activists, and others it wants to prevent from seeing Tibet so that they could not report on the situation there.
The TAR government plans to attract 40 million visits from tourists this year, up from last year’s 33.69 million, and increase the number of overseas pilgrims visiting the region by 50 percent, the report cited Qi Zhala, chairman of the regional government, as saying Jan 10 while delivering a government work report to the annual session of the regional people’s congress.
He has said the regional government will improve the service for, and management of, overseas tourists as part of the measures to develop regional tourism.