More than 5.95 million people had traveled on the Qinghai-Tibet railway by the end of 2007 since the highest rail route in the world opened in July, 2006.
The passenger flow accounted for 43 percent of all tourists visiting Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China during the period, according to the autonomous regional tourism bureau.
The operation of the railway line has greatly boosted tourist growth in this landlocked plateau, which registered a record of 4.02 million tourists from other places in China and overseas last year, an annual increase of 60.4 percent, official statistics show.
Tourist revenue surged 75.1 percent year-on-year to 4.8 billion yuan (658 million U.S. dollars) in 2007, accounting for about 14.2 percent of the gross domestic product in Tibet, which was 4.6 percentage points higher than the previous year.
The number of visitors to Tibet is expected to hit 5 million this year, up 25 percent from a year earlier, and tourism revenue is predicted to reach 6 billion yuan (822 million U.S. dollars), up 24 percent.
More than 1,000 companies are involved in tourist businesses with total assets of more than 4 billion yuan. More than 1,600 registered tour guides and 858 hotels are ready to host the booming tourist trade.
The 1,956-kilometer railway, built at a cost of 33 billion yuan, was the first railway to connect Tibet with the outside world. It now transports about 75 percent of the goods between Tibet and other parts of the country.Enditem
(Xinhua News Agency February 8, 2008)