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Region improves quality, speed of services

By Palden Nyima and Daqiong in Lhasa | China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-06 09:25
Tibetans compete in an event to celebrate the Ongkor, or Bumper Harvest, Festival, in Lhasa, Tibet autonomous region, in July. Phurbu Tashi/xinhua

Editor's note: As the People's Republic of China prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary on Oct 1, China Daily is featuring a series of stories on the role regions have played in the country's development and where they are today.

As of this month, tourists from overseas will find it easier to visit the Tibet autonomous region as a result of simplification of the approval procedures for travel permits, according to the region's tourism development department.

The change, which took effect on Thursday, is one of several measures introduced in response to the central government's stated desire to promote Tibet as an important world tourism destination, the department said.

The 2019 Forum on the Development of Tibet was held in Lhasa, the regional capital, on June 14. President Xi Jinping sent the meeting a congratulatory letter in which he said the region has many advantages that make it a great tourism destination.

At the annual session of the Tibet autonomous region People's Congress in January, the regional government proposed halving the time taken to issue travel permits to overseas visitors.

Pilot platform

Working with a number of government bodies in the region, the tourism development department has made great efforts in response to the instructions of the central and regional governments. The efforts have resulted in a pilot platform for inbound tourism management, which began operating at the start of the month.

Yuan Xiaorong, head of the department's supervision and administration office, said the launch of the new platform means travel agents will no longer have to do paperwork by hand or make repeated visits to relevant offices and bureaus, because almost all the administrative work can be done online.

"Travel agencies will be able to do all the work online and they will only have to visit the travel permit office once, which is expected to save time and improve efficiency," Yuan said.

Before, it took at least 15 days to receive a permit after the requisite documents had been submitted, but the department said that under the new system the wait will be cut to three to five days.

Yuan said, "The new system will greatly shorten application times, and we believe that by the end of the year we will meet the regional government's proposal of greatly reducing the time taken to issue travel permits to all overseas visitors."

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