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Tibet receives 3mln tourists by Sept.
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More than three million tourists have traveled to Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China in the first nine months of the year, up 65 percent over the same period last year, local tourism authority said on Saturday.

The figure is 500,000 more than the number of tourists for the whole year 2006, which was reported as 2.5 million.

The booming influx of tourists brought one billion yuan (US$133 million) in revenue to the Himalayan region, an increase of 90 percent, statistics from the Tibet autonomous regional tourism bureau show.

More than 2.99 million of the tourists were Chinese and nearly 100,000 came from abroad, spending almost US$30 million.

Wang Songping, vice-director of the tourism bureau, attributed the growth in tourist numbers to promotional efforts and the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which began operation on July 1, 2006.

The railway, the world's highest railway line, links the Tibetan capital of Lhasa to the rest of China. By the end of Sept., the number of tourists taking train to Tibet is expected to reach 1,2 million, one third of the total.

This year Tibet expects to host 3.8 million tourists, according to the regional development and reform commission.

(Xinhua News Agency September 22, 2007)

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