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Tourism entrepreneur fulfills his dream on the high plateau

By Palden Nyima and Da Qiong in Lhasa ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-02-22 08:09:58

Tourism entrepreneur fulfills his dream on the high plateau

Xu Bin stands in front of Qomolangma in Tibet.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Ten years ago, Xu Bin was a 22-year-old student at the China Academy of Art, making his very first trip to the Tibet autonomous region to complete a painting project for school.

The trip by bus from his home in Northwest China's Gansu province took more than 48 hours and he roughed it the rest of the way. "Traveling was a big challenge as there was no railway access to Tibet in 2004, and I made my way across the whole region by backpacking, hitching rides and trekking," Xu said.

Two years after that first trip, Xu shifted from a career as a painter to information technology. But his interest in Tibet stayed constant. He set out to establish a tourism company to bring others to the land of the high plateau, where the average altitude towers above 4,000 meters.

With the world's highest mountain, the formidable Qomolangma, known as Mount Everest in the West, and the vast Changtang grassland, nearly as big as Western Europe in size, Tibet attracts visitors with its extremes. It's also home to more large animals than anywhere else in China, including the Tibetan antelope, wild yak and Tibetan brown bear.

In 2008, Xu founded the company, Yunduan Tourism Development. A year later, his website catering to independent travel, www.haixizang.com, came online to provide advice for travelers on where to eat, stay and see the sights.

Xu is tapping into a surge of interest in travel to Tibet and recent efforts by the central and the regional governments to turn Lhasa into a world-class tourism city.

During the opening ceremony of Tibet's international tourism and culture expo in September, Li Shihong, deputy head of the China National Tourism Administration, stressed the importance of nurturing Tibetan tourism as an important gateway to Southwest China.

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