LHASA, Tibet – Southwest China’s Tibet autonomous region reported a 23.7% hike in tourist arrivals in the first three months of this year, heralding a rosy outlook for the plateau’s tourism industry in the Year of the Water Dragon.
Tibet received 230,000 tourist arrivals from January to March, a senior official with the regional tourism bureau said Thursday.
Meanwhile, Tibet’s tourism revenue climbed 27.9% over the same period of last year to reach 229 million yuan (36.34 million U.S. dollars), said Yu Yungui, secretary of the bureau’s committee of the Communist Party of China.
Yu attributed the tourism boom to a growing number of sightseers and religious travelers.
As road conditions in Tibet have improved, many private car owners from China’s interior regions have chosen to drive to the plateau region, he said.
Interprovincial expressways linking Sichuan, Yunnan and Qinghai provinces with the plateau region reported a significant rise in traffic flows starting in February.
Figures provided by the road traffic management bureau indicated that 18,600 private cars hit the road to Tibet in the first quarter, up 27.8% year on year.
Meanwhile, rising incomes have enabled more Tibetans to make pilgrimages to Lhasa. From January to March, the holy city received 128,000 religious travelers, said Yu.
The tourism bureau’s winter travel packages, including discounted tickets and hotel rates, honeymoons on “the roof of the world” and Tibetan New Year-themed travel packages, also helped boost Tibet’s winter tourism.
In the six months from October to the end of March, a traditionally slack season, Tibet received a record 1.79 million tourist arrivals, up 47.8% year on year, said Yu.
This year, Tibet expects 10 million tourist arrivals and 12 billion yuan in tourism revenue, he said.