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Mt Qomolangma receives 40,000 tourists in 2007
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Mount Qomolangma (Everest), the world's highest peak, recorded more than 40,200 tourists in 2007, said tourism authorities in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.


Local tourism authorities attributed the tourist boom, which brought revenue of 26 million yuan (around 3.6 million U.S. dollars) to the local region, mainly to improved roads in the high-altitude region.


Tourist numbers for 2006 were not released.


An official with the Tibet Autonomous Region Tourism Bureau said that it was expected that more tourists would come to the area this year along with the ascent of the Beijing Olympic torch to Mount Qomolangma as one of the highlights during its worldwide relay.


The bureau has recently debuted new tourist routes for those who travel on foot or behind the wheel.


Mount Qomolangma, known in the west as Mount Everest, has become one of the most popular routes for backpackers and mountaineers.


The central government and Tibet's regional government have stepped up preservation of the vulnerable environment in the nature reserve of the Mount Qomolangma.


(Xinhua News Agency February 21, 2008)


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