Gyirong Port opens to travellers and trade
G Y I R ONG P ORT, A L S O known as the RashuwaKe r u n g b o r d e r c r o s s i n g , will be open to all travellers from June 29 and not only for Nepalese and Chinese nationals. This newly restored overland gateway connects Lhasa to Kathmandu and it is bound to attract many more visitors to boost tourism in the area on top of the added value of infrastructure. According to Susan Lee, the marketing director of Tibet Travel agency, “The number of tourists in the region is increasing and it is expected to reach even more people during the peak travel season for Tibet come June and July, benefiting Tibetan tourism.” “Currently, one hundred tourists cross the border every day. Both governments had already set up various agencies such as Immigration, Customs, Police and so on,” said Mr Surya Sedai, the director of the Customs Department. Sedai reiterated the advantages of the crossing and reassured that, “From basic shopkeepers to lodge and restaurant owners, they are all benefiting from the port, as tourists crossing the border are very likely to purchase small items. It helps to support our country's economy.” Over the next few years, the Qinghai-tibet Railway will extend from Shigatse to Gyirong because the gradient of the terrain is not as dramatic as the other land port in TatopaniZhangmu, also known as the Kodari crossing. Last year's devastating earthquake crippled the Kodari crossing and even though the roads are motorable now after repairs, some media reported that the Chinese are reluctant to reopen it mainly due to the concerns about Nepal-based Tibetan activists entering China through that point as security is better established at Gyirong Port.