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Lhasa to build 1st tourist information and service center
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Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, will build its first-ever tourist information office and service center by the end of 2011, a city official said Wednesday.

The 15.7-million-yuan (2.29 million U.S. dollars) project will be located at the railway station square in downtown Lhasa.

Travelers would be able to arrange accommodations, transport and guide services from 10 to 20 travel agencies in the center, said Wang Ping, chief of Lhasa's tourism administration.

Travelers would be able to book agency services and bus tickets to tourist destinations by telephone or on the center's Web site, Wang said.

The center would also offer itineraries and routes for independent travelers.

Tourists could also seek help in emergencies or submit complaints, Wang said.

Large screens would give detailed and updated travel information with pictures of tourist destinations in Tibet, Wang said.

Tourist information is currently available on the tourism bureau's Web site and on a large outdoor screen at Potala Palace square, Wang said.

The administration would seek funding for the center from the central government, which is spending 350 million yuan on tourism development projects across China.

From January to July, Lhasa received more than 133 million travelers, a year-on-year growth of 191.5 percent, according to the local tourism administration.

Booming tourism has also driven up the development of the region's handicraft industry, which takes 26.9 percent of tourist spending in the region, said Badro, head of the administration.

The regional government aims to increase the market share of the handicraft industry to 30 percent by 2010 and to 40 percent by 2015.

(Xinhua News Agency August 12, 2009)

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