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Lhasa Prepared for Holiday Tourist Influx: Official
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Lhasa, dubbed the city of sunlight on the roof of the world, has made efforts to be prepared for an influx of tourists during the seven-day holiday starting May 1, said a local tourist official.

There are now 226 star-rated hotels and guest houses in Lhasa, with 22,798 beds, an increase of 33 hotels and 2,210 beds from a year ago.

Sixty-two percent of the rooms of the 99 hotels authorized to handle overseas tourists have been pre-booked, according to Ga Ga, director of Lhasa tourism bureau.

Ga Ga predicts Lhasa, which is the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, will have close to 200,000 tourist arrivals between May 1 and 7.

"We began preparing for the forthcoming holiday travel season in late March," said the official. The city tourism bureau has offered crash courses, on how to deal with customers, to more than 700 former herders who now work in downtown hotels.

The remote southwestern Chinese region handled more than 2.51 million tourists last year, of whom 154,800 were overseas tourists. They netted the region 2.77 billion yuan in revenue.

Tibet is expected to host 3 million tourists and rake in 3.4 billion yuan this year, according to Jin Shixun, director of the development and reform commission of Tibet Autonomous Regional Government.

The region had 116,700 domestic and overseas tourists in the first three months of the year, a rise of 15.8 percent from a year ago, and raked in 105 million yuan in revenue, according to figures from Tibet Autonomous Regional Bureau of Statistics.

The new Qinghai-Tibet railway, which went into operation last July, is being credited with helping create the tourist boom. (US$1 equals to 7.73 yuan)

(Xinhua News Agency May 1, 2007)

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