Tibet denies discriminatory travel restrictions on foreign tourists

16:11, March 24, 2011      

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China has always affirmed the significance of tourism to Tibet's development and has never imposed special restrictions on foreign tourists to Tibet, said experts from the China Tibetology Research Center (CTRC), on March 23.

Zhou Wei, director of the Social and Economic Research Institute under the CTRC, and Du Yongbin, researcher at the Contemporary Research Institute under the CTRC, made the remarks during a symposium for domestic and foreign reporters hosted by the Chinese Journalists Association on March 23.

Zhou said that there is no question that tourism is highly significant to Tibet's development.

Zhou's younger brother runs a tourist agency and a hotel named the Yarlung Zangbo River in Tibet. Zhou said that 80 percent to 90 percent of the tourists that stay at his brother's hotel from June and September each year are foreigners. If there were restrictions on foreign tourists, the hotel would not be able to survive for a day longer.

Zhou believes that it is impossible for foreign tourists to travel Tibet as conveniently as they travel the outside world because of language and transportation factors. Foreign tourists should join tour groups to visit Tibet. Tibet has no restrictions to prevent foreign tourists from visiting there.

Du also noted that Tibet's tourism industry is significant to the local economy, but the industry also faces some issues, such as how to balance the development of the tourism industry and the protection of Tibet's traditional culture.

He said that as Lhasa's Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple are closely associated with religion, too many tourists will negatively affect traditional buildings and the religious lives there. According to a survey conducted by the CTRC, local traditional religious lives have indeed been disturbed by the tourism industry.

Therefore, some tourist spots such as the Potala Palace have introduced restrictions on both domestic and foreign tourists, rather than only on foreign tourists.

By People's Daily Online

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