Southwest China's Tibet received a record 672,000 tourists in the first five months, a rise of 82 percent from the same period last year due to the Qinghai-Tibet Railway which began operation last July.
From January to May, the region hosted 627,000 domestic tourists and45,000 from overseas, reaping a revenue of 636 million yuan (US$83.6 million), up 78 percent, the regional tourism bureau said.
Zha'nor, deputy director of the bureau, said the Qinghai-Tibet Railway had unblocked the transport bottleneck that had hindered tourism development of the region.
The 1,956-km railway, the first to link Tibet to the rest of China, starts in Xining, capital of neighboring Qinghai Province and ends in Lhasa, capital of Tibet. Prior to its operation on July 1, 2006, tourists could only reach Tibet by air or highway.
The region hosted more than 2.5 million tourists last year, including 154,800 from overseas. They spent 2.77 billion yuan in the region.
This year, it expects to host three million tourists and bring in 3.4 billion yuan in tourism revenue.
Tibet aims to receive six million tourists from across the globe in 2010 with at least six billion yuan of tourism income, or 12 percent of the region's gross domestic product, the regional government said.
(Xinhua News Agency June 19, 2007)