Rapid tourism growth will not necessarily be detrimental to the
environment, as the two can develop harmoniously, officials from Tibet said yesterday.
By the end of this month's national holiday, the number of
visitors to the autonomous region had risen to 3.5 million, up from
2.5 million last year, Hao Peng, deputy Party secretary of Tibet,
Lun Zu (left) and Deji
Zhuosang, delegates from the Tibet Autonomous Region attending the
17th Party Congress, yesterday discuss the political report
delivered by Hu Jintao on Monday.
At a group discussion during the 17th Party Congress, Hao praised the
Qinghai-Tibet Railway as "an economic, united, ecological and happy
He explained it has enhanced relations between Tibet and other
parts of China after it went into service last July, and moreover,
has had an enormous impact on Tibet's tourism industry.
He estimated the total tourism revenue will reach more than 4
billion yuan (US$530 million) this year.
Many local people have benefited, especially those running
businesses in scenic spots and alongside the railway, he said.
Hao said the average annual income of a Tibetan farmer will be
2,700 yuan this year, up 17 percent on 2006.
He denied tourism might become over-developed and affect the
"Tourism is the most environment-friendly industry," he
He said the government had paid considerable attention to
environmental protection while developing the region's tourism
"Lhasa, for example, is the first city in China to abolish the
use of white plastic bags. And there are always residents and
officers prepared to pick up garbage at scenic spots."
Hao also compared the situation to neighboring Yunnan Province,
which welcomed about 50 million tourists last year.
"Compared with our neighbor, the number of tourists to Tibet is
very small. In my opinion, tourism here has lots of potential," he
Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the regional government of Tibet,
said the refurbishment of Potala Palace will soon be completed. As
for how to protect the site, which dates back more than 1,300
years, he said visitor numbers had recently been limited to no more
than 3,000 every day.
An exhibition house is being built to allow more visitors to see
several pieces from the palace without having to enter the
(China Daily October 17, 2007)