Tibet sees record Spring Festival tourist numbers

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2014-02-08 10:42:55

Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region received a record 230,000 tourists during the just-ended Spring Festival holiday, said local authorities on Friday.

The number of visitors from home and abroad to the plateau land over the week-long holiday, which ended on Thursday, grew 7.81 percent year on year, with tourism revenues increasing 13.3 percent to 185 million yuan (30.5 million U.S. dollars), according to a statement issued by the regional tourism bureau.

It attributed the growth to the local government's vigorous promotion of winter travel, with winter the traditional off-peak season for the popular tourist resort.

Fears of severe cold and altitude sickness on the remote plateau, where healthcare is generally poor, usually hold potential visitors back in winter. Therefore, local authorities have been campaigning hard through media to dispel those "misunderstandings," said Yu Dawa, head of the regional tourism bureau.

Monitoring results provided by the meteorological observatory of Lhasa, the regional capital, suggested the oxygen content of air during the city's winter is only 3 percent lower than that recorded during its summer.

"It's also not that cold in winter. In fact, you can feel very warm and comfortable in the bright sunshine at noon," said Yang Xiuqiong, a veteran tour guide in Lhasa.

The majority of Tibet's scenic spots and hotels offer a 50-percent discount in winter to woo customers.

An alluring destination for adventures and pilgrimages, Tibet has seen its tourism sector grow by an annual average of 30 percent over the past six years. A record 12.91 million tourists visited in 2013, up 22 percent year on year.

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