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Tibet to receive 10 mln tourists this year

(Xinhua)

09:03, September 04, 2012

LHASA, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region is expected to receive a record 10 million-plus tourists this year, a local tourism official said Monday.

These tourists will bring revenue of 12 billion yuan (1.89 billion U.S. dollars), or 17 percent of the region's gross domestic product (GDP), said Yu Yungui, head of the Communist Party committee of the region's tourism bureau.

Yu said more than 7 million domestic or foreign tourists visited Tibet from January to August, up more than 25 percent year on year. Tourism revenue over the past eight months jumped 30 percent year on year to 7.5 billion yuan.

Yu attributed the boom to tour activities organized this year. Such activities have run under the themes of Tibetan culture and scenic beauty, such as mountains, snowy landscapes and sunshine.

Large-scale advertising and various festivals, such as Tibetan New Year, have also helped attract tourists, he said.

Tibet is situated on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, an area predominantly populated by ethnic Tibetans and prevailed by Buddhist culture. Signature tourist destinations include the world's highest peak Mount Qomolangma, the sacred lake Nam Co and Tibetan Buddhism heritage sites such as Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Zhaxi Lhunbo Monastery.

Nearly 300,000 people in the region are employed in the tourism sector with fixed assets exceeding 25 billion yuan, according to government figures.

The number of tourists traveling to Tibet has been growing by an average of 30 percent annually in the past five years. Last year, more than 8.69 million people visited Tibet, bringing in tourism revenue of 9.7 billion yuan. Authorities aim to see 15 million tourists annually by 2015.

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