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May Day brings hope to tourism industry
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At the Baoma Hotel, a receptionist showed a collection of faxes to Xinhua, saying, "You see, many orders for May have come. People are still longing for going to the grasslands and the monastery."

"Tourism revenue at scenic sites in Gannan is down by 80 percent and in some places down by 92 percent," said Cao Shiqing, director of tourism administration of Gannan.

"However, our tourism is reviving. More than 10 tourist groups have visited Gannan before the May Day Holiday," Cao said. "It is quite safe to visit Gannan now."

County head of Xiahe Yang Xiaonan said, "We believe that more tourists will come soon."

The remote county, with a population of 20,000, received more than 500,000 tourists and reported tourism revenue of 108 million yuan (15.4 million U.S dollars) in 2007, Yang said

Tourism accounted for almost 10 percent of Gannan's 370 million yuan in GDP last year with 1.88 million people journeying there.

"Chinese tourists prefer village tours to grasslands and tents, while overseas visitors like to visit monasteries and Tibetan families," said Namgyal, deputy director of the publicity department of Xiahe.

Another group of holidaymakers enjoyed a family party in Maerkang county, in Sichuan's Aba Autonomous Prefecture of Tibetan and Qiang nationalities.

"We have five nationalities -- Tibetan, Han, Qiang, Hui and Manchu -- in our 10 family members and friends here," said Han Taiyu, on of the group.

"We have experienced tremendous changes in ethnic Tibetan areas. A tiny group of lawbreakers cannot destroy our home," Han said.

(Xinhua News Agency May 3, 2008)


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