Authorities have published a long-term plan for the tourism industry's
sustainable development on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which aims to retain the
same blue-sky and plateau views even after years of development.
The scheme (2006-20) plans to develop the region along the Qinghai-Tibet
Railway into a top-quality tourist destination, which it is hoped will attract
some 3 million tourists each year, staying for an average of seven to 12 days by
But tourism administrators say the development should not be achieved at the
cost of the environment, said Yang Kaizhong, an economist and professor with
Peking University who heads the planning team, supported by the China National
As a preventive move, Yang's team has defined "no entry", "entry limit",
"free entry" and "encouraged entry" sections in the region.
"Ten natural reserves in the region, such as the core region of Hoh Xil
national nature reserve, will be barred from any entry or tourism development,"
he said, adding that areas where human landscape resources are not opened are
Unduplicable scenic spots like the Potala Palace and Tar Lamasery are areas
where limits will be set for tourist entry, he said.
But entry into major towns, such as Lhasa, Nagqu, Golmud and Xining, and some
scenic spots that are capable of receiving unlimited numbers of tourists, such
as the formal research base of China's first atomic bomb, are encouraged.
It is because the big towns will shoulder the task of providing
accommodation, leisure and shopping places for tourists, Yang said.
It is expected 85,100 hotel rooms will be needed along the railway by 2020,
most of which should be located in the towns.
"But we do not encourage building high towers and star-rated hotels there. It
is better to have more family hotels, small-scale inns and non-permanent
facilities with strong local cultural and architectural features in the
community," he said.
The plan also suggests setting up sewage treatment works in Xining, Delingha
and Golmud in Qinghai, and Lhasa and Nagqu in Tibet, and building large-scale
waste-disposal plants in Xining, Golmud and Lhasa, so that sewage and rubbish
left by tourists and produced by railway passengers can be disposed of, he said.
In addition to environmental protection, the plan is also exploring new
spring and winter scenic spots, aiming to extend the sightseeing period around
the plateau from the current six months (May-October) to more than eight months
Tourists are also expected to benefit from it by having better planned
The planning work started in 2006, as the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is forecast
to stimulate tourist growth to the plateau as a more affordable and convenient
means of transport.
(China Daily 07/20/2007 page3)