(www.TibetanReview.net, Feb 12. 2008)
Since the Qinghai-Tibet Railway opened for tourism in Jul 2006, more than 5.95 million people have availed the service till the end of 2007, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Feb 8. Forty-three percent of all tourists visiting Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) during the period took the train, the report said, adding, it greatly boosted tourism growth in this landlocked plateau region.
The record high of 4.02 million tourists who visited the TAR last year was 60.4 percent more than in 2006, the report said, adding, tourism revenue surged 75.1 percent year-on-year to 4.8 billion yuan in 2007, accounting for about 14.2 percent of the TAR’s GDP growth, which was 4.6 percent higher than in 2006.
The projection for 2008 is five million tourists and tourism revenue of six billion yuan, representing 25 percent and 24 percent increases, respectively.
The report said more than 1,000 companies were involved in tourism businesses with total assets of more than four billion yuan. Besides, there were more than 1,600 registered tour guides and 858 hotels to handle the region’s booming tourism business.
The 1,956-km railway, built at a cost of 33 billion yuan, now transports about 75 percent of the goods between the TAR and China, the report added.
The railway has also boosted winter tourism, with some 20,000 tourists visiting the TAR Nov 2007 to Jan’08, reported China’s online Tibet news service en.tibet.cn Feb 11, citing sources from TAR Tourism Bureau