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Tibet Urged to Tap Potential to Face Tourists Influx

Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the autonomous regional government of Tibet, urged local authorities this week to further tap tourism potentials to meet tourists influx in the following months.

Tibet is expected to receive two million visitors in the second half of the year, to bring the annual total to more than 2.6 million, regional tourism authorities predicted recently.

Xigaze, Nyingchi and Shannan prefectures should accelerate the development of tourism sites to absorb more tourists inflow, the official said.

He said the region has to improve its service and tourism management to ensure tourists feel at home and safe in the remote, air-scarce plateau region.

The history-making Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which started operation on July 1, is believed to be a major contributor to the region's tourist influx.

In the first six months, the region recorded 591,200 visits, growing by 9.2 percent year on year, which brought a revenue of 516 million yuan (US$64.5 million), up 9.1 percent from the same period last year, according to official statistics.

In the first six days after the railway was opened, Tibet received 78,000 tourists, 46 percent more than a year ago.

In the first 20 days of this month, the number of stay-over visits to the region amounted to 301,000, up 50 percent year on year. Of the total, 172,000 tourists, or 57 percent, flew in, and 88,000, or 29 percent, entered the region by rail. The other 41,000 traveled to Tibet by road.

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