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First Luxury Tourist Train to Run on Qinghai-Tibet Railway
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A luxury tourist train is expected to make debut next year on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway that opened this July, a high-ranking official of the Qinghai Province has said.


The train, the first of its kind on the newly-opened railway, will be operated by the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Company in cooperation with foreign tourist agencies, said the official who declined to be named.


The Qinghai-Tibet Railway Company is based in Xining, capital of Qinghai in China's remote northwest.


The official said the luxury train will be equipped the most advanced equipment in the world and will rival the star-rated hotels in terms of convenience and comfort.


Meanwhile, the train will be operated in line with the advanced management modes in the world, the official said.


She also disclosed that Qinghai may end its history of having no international portal entry in 2007, upon which overseas tourists will be able to reach Qinghai directly from abroad and take the luxury train to visit the beautiful and mysterious Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.


The Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the first to link Tibet to the rest of China, starts in Xining and ends in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. It was opened on July 1.


Before the train service on the 1,956 km railway, tourist could only reach Tibet via air or highway.


Tibet has received more than 2.25 million visitors in the first 10 months of the year, an increase of 31.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the latest statistics from the regional tourism bureau.


The huge influx of tourists has brought the region a tourism revenue of more than 2.4 billion yuan (about US$300 million) in the said period, up 28.9 percent year on year.


Officials with the bureau have attributed the surging of tourists to the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which they said has made the "Roof of the World" more accessible.


(Xinhua News Agency December 17, 2006)

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