Tourism began to rise in Tibet in the early 1980s in response to the country's reform and opening-up policies. Overseas mountain climbers, explorers and tourists streamed to Tibet. After some 20 years, tourism in Tibet has become much more developed with regard to hotels and other tourist facilities, road conditions, and the quality of tour guides and managers.
In 2004, 1.2231 million people hailing from inside and outside China visited Tibet, representing an increase of 31.7 percent over the previous year. This includes 1.1273 million visitors from other parts of China, an increase of 28.5 percent; and 95,800 from the rest of the world, an increase of 87.5 percent. In 2004, tourism income reached 153,200 Yuan, an increase of 47/7 percent over the previous year. Foreign exchange income thus made was US$36.3 million, an increase of 93.5 percent over the previous year.