Lhasa: Tibet is expected to have 5 million tourists by the end of 2009 as over 1.37 million tourists swarmed into this Himalaya land in August alone, setting a record in terms of the number of tourists in a single month, Sun Yongping, Deputy Director of Tibet Regional Tourism Bureau, said during a conference Friday September 11, 2009.
Statistics released by the tourism bureau show from January to August 2009, Tibet has attracted 4.09 million Chinese and foreign tourists, a 2.5-time growth over the same period in 2008. The tourism industry has generated a total income of 3.23 billion yuan in the past eight months. In August, Tibet saw the largest number of tourists in one month with 1.37 million, while the total income from tourism also reached to 1 billion yuan.
Among foreign tourists, most come from the United States, with Germany and Japan following behind. The Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple are still the top choices among foreign tourists, according to the official.
Sun also predicts that Tibet tourism will easily reach its target next year to have 6 million tourists. He explained that Tibet has unique tourism resources and the necessary infrastructure to attract more tourists to support the region’s economy development.
The official emphasized that tourism industry has benefited the Tibetans. By now, 4,664 families of 34,979 people have engaged in the tourism industry, and each family can earn an annual income of 13,066 yuan. Many Tibetans have become rich thanks to the tourism.
Tibet tourism industry suffered heavily in 2008 due to the March 14 riots in Lhasa, Wenchuan Earthquake and global financial crisis. It only had 2.24 million tourists in the whole year of 2008. The rapid increase of tourists show that Tibet has maintained its stability and prosperity, said the official.