BEIJING – The number of tourists visiting Tibet recovered to 100,000 in June, the Lhasa city government said on Sunday, after falling to zero after fatal ethnic clashes in March.
Only a handful of foreign tourists have been allowed into Tibet and Chinese visitors have stayed away since protests in mid-March turned into deadly riots in which Tibetans attacked Han Chinese and Hui Muslim shops.
About 75,000 visitors came to Tibet in May, up from none in April, the city government said in a statement on the Tibetan regional website.
By contrast 1 million tourists, 73,000 of them from overseas, visited the ‘roof of the world’ in the first half of 2007.
Nineteen Han and Hui died in the Lhasa riots, and activists say many more Tibetans were killed in subsequent demonstrations and a crackdown across the plateau.
“The economy was basically stable in the first half of the year,” the Lhasa government said, adding that production had risen 14.8 percent, fixed investment 42.6 percent and consumption 3 percent.
The Tibet Autonomous Region was officially opened to Chinese tourists on April 23 and to foreigners with permits on June 24, but other ethnically Tibetan areas remain under lock-down, with paramilitary police blocking roads to monastery towns.
A hotel receptionist in Xiahe, a largely Tibetan town in Gansu province that is popular with Chinese and foreign tourists because of its active monastery, told Reuters that foreigners were still not allowed to visit.
“We haven’t heard anything, but we doubt the area will reopen until after the Olympics” taking place in Beijing in August, she said.