Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region 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.
Domestic tourists made up about 93.5 percent of the total, up 23 percent over last year. The number of overseas visitors grew 28 percent year-on-year reaching 145,000, or 6.5 percent of the total, statistics show.
The huge influx of tourists has brought the region tourism revenue of more than 2.4 billion yuan (US$300 million), a year-on-year increase of 28.9 percent, the statistics show.
Officials with the bureau attributed surging tourism to the newly-opened Qinghai-Tibet Railway for making the "Roof of the World" more accessible.
"Although winter is usually an off-season for tourism here, the number of tourists has been growing to some extent compared with the same period of last year," said Zha'nor, deputy director of the regional Tourism Bureau.
Tibet is expected to see 2.35 million visitors by the end of this month, with a tourism revenue of up to 2.5 billion yuan (US$320 million), according to Zha'nor.
The Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the first to link Tibet to the rest of China, starts in Xining in northwest China's Qinghai Province and ends in Lhasa, capital of Tibet. It started operations on July 1.
Before train began running on the 1,956 km railway, tourist could only reach Tibet via air or highway.
(Xinhua News Agency November 10, 2006)