Unrestricted trips to Tibet to resume next month

Updated: 2008-04-06 11:16

Since last month's riots in Lhasa, tourism in Tibet has almost ground to a halt. But as peace has returned to the capital city of the Tibet Autonomous Region, the local tourism department says unrestricted trips to Tibet will be permitted starting from May 1st.

Handicraft shops near Jokhang Temple have re-opened. This area is usually a favorite with tourists.

During the riots in mid March, many shops were looted. But businesses are recovering as calm has returned to the city.

A traveller from Xi'an was in a spending mood. He said, "Social order is good in Lhasa now. My friends told me to buy some souvenirs. They said handicrafts here are real and good quality."

The Shop owner, said, "Our business is recovering."

Potala Palace, the symbol of the autonomous region, was closed after the riots.

In late March, the palace was reopened. There are currently about a hundred tourists here every day, and the number is continuing to grow.

Tourism is one of the most important industries in Tibet, accounting for 10 percent of the autonomous region's GDP.

With the opening of Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the number of tourists reached a record four million last year.

The local tourism department says travel agencies can start organizing tours starting in May.

Industry analysts say the prospects of tourism in Tibet are good, and current difficulties will soon be overcomed.

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