Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region saw a record number of tourists during the May Day holiday, according to the Tibetan tourism bureau.
During the week-long break, 340,000 tourists visited the region, a year-on-year increase of 32.6 percent, bringing more than 135 million yuan (US$17.5 million) of revenue to the region, up 31 percent from the previous year.
The new Qinghai-Tibet railway, which started operation last July, is being credited with helping to create a tourist boom.
Prior to the holidays, cities in the region, including Lhasa, made efforts to prepare for an influx of tourists.
Some of the roads around the Potala Palace were widened, the palace's narrow and steep stairways were adjusted and the opening hours were lengthened. In addition, the Lhasa city tourism bureau offered crash courses in customer service to more than 700 former herders who now work in downtown hotels.
Statistics from Tibet's development and reform commission indicate the region is expected to host 3 million tourists and earn 3.4 billion yuan in tourism revenue this year.
(Xinhua News Agency May 9, 2007)