Tibet eyes international travel hub

Tibet will further boost tourism industry by improving its infrastructure construction and promoting its unique natural and cultural tourism resources.

Tourism is the pillar industry for the Chinese region.

Official figures show, in 1980, only about 3,500 people visited Tibet.

In the first eight months of this year, Tibet received 14.3 million tourists, generating three billion U.S. dollars in revenue.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) TIAN YONG, Coffee shop owner in Lhasa:
“I can earn a satisfactory amount of money during the travel season — about 2,000 yuan (330 U.S. dollars) each day and that would add up to 60,000 yuan (10,000 dollars) a month.”

Tourism revenue accounts for over 20 percent of the region’s GDP.

With about one tenth of Tibet’s 3.1 million people living under the poverty line, the regional government aims at creating more jobs and improving people’s livelihood by promoting tourism.

The autonomous region expects to attract more travelers from south Asia by tapping into the “Belt and Road” initiative.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) LOSANG JAMCAN, Chairman of Tibet regional government:
“Tibet will tap into the Belt and Road initiative to open the door of tourism and cultural exchange with south Asian countries.”

To further boost tourism, the autonomous region will encourage airlines to launch more domestic and international flights.

Tibet now has five airports which operate 58 flights, but the only direct international flight into Lhasa is from Nepal’s Kathmandu.

The government believes that with more flights and better infrastructure, remote attractions in southwest Tibet can be powerful draws.

The region aims to host 17 million tourists this year.

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