Tourism helps al­le­vi­ate poverty

Res­i­dents of the au­tonomous re­gion dis­cover new ways to profit from vis­i­tors

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By PALDEN NYIMA in Lhasa and CAO YIN in Bei­jing Con­tact the writ­ers at caoyin@chi­nadaily.com.cn and palden_ny­ima@chi­nadaily.

Res­i­dents of the Ti­bet au­tonomous re­gion have ben­e­fited over the past few years from tourism, which has en­hanced the econ­omy, an of­fi­cial with the lo­cal tourism au­thor­ity said.

Thanks to ef­forts to stim­u­late tourism in Ti­bet, the re­gion’s econ­omy has seen a rapid boom in re­cent years, said Shi Yuhui, deputy direc­tor of the re­gion’s tourism de­vel­op­ment com­mis­sion, dur­ing the Third China Ti­bet In­ter­na­tional Tourism and Cul­ture Expo, which kicked off on Satur­day.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­gion’s 2016 gov­ern­ment work re­port, the re­gion re­ceived a record 20 mil­lion tourists from home and abroad in 2015, con­tribut­ing 28 bil­lion yuan ($3.72 bil­lion) to the tourism in­dus­try — 27.5 per­cent of the re­gion’s GDP.

In the past five years, 67 mil­lion tourists have vis­ited Ti­bet, gen­er­at­ing 87.5 bil­lion yuan in rev­enue, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

The re­gion’s tourism in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­enced 23.4 per­cent av­er­age an­nual growth in vis­i­tors, it said.

“We largely im­proved our tourism in­fra­struc­ture to face the ris­ing num­ber of tourists, and the boom also en­cour­aged a large num­ber of res­i­dents to par­tic­i­pate in the tourism in­dus­try and ben­e­fit from it,” Shi said.

De­spite the achieve­ments, he said, the qual­ity of tourist ser­vices and man­age­ment must be fur­ther im­proved.

De­vel­op­ing tourism will con­tinue to speed up dur­ing the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) pe­riod, the re­port said.

Shi ap­plauded the growth in Ti­bet’s tourism and said res­i­dents are be­com­ing en­gaged in the tourism in­dus­try, be­cause “they found that tourism can help them out of poverty”.

Now, the poverty alle­vi­a­tion teams have criss­crossed Ti­bet, and the re­gional fi­nan­cial depart­ment has also funded poverty alle­vi­a­tion projects con­nected tourism, he said.

In the mean­time, tourism train­ing has been ex­tended to the re­gion’s coun­ties and town­ships, aim­ing to meet the tourism in­dus­try’s need for hu­man re­sources, he said.

“Tourists can now en­joy bet­ter ser­vices and a wider va­ri­ety of ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing horse­back rid­ing, cul­tural en­ter­tain­ment and Ti­betan fam­ily inns,” he said. with

For ex­am­ple, vis­i­tors will know more about Ti­betan cul­ture af­ter they watch the live ac­tion op­eras of Prince Wencheng and Gyaltse Traces, he said, which also nar­rows the gap be­tween tourists and Ti­betans.

In ad­di­tion, eth­nic per­for­mances, cul­tural feasts and del­i­ca­cies are good choices for peo­ple who travel to Ti­bet.

“Of course, they can shop for lo­cal spe­cial­ties at the same time,” he said.

The re­gional gov­ern­ment has in­vested heav­ily in city con­struc­tion, hop­ing to turn the re­gion’s cap­i­tal, Lhasa, into a global tourism des­ti­na­tion, and to turn Ny­ingchi into an eco­log­i­cal city, he said.

Wei Hong­tao, deputy direc­tor of the China Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion, gave a key­note speech dur­ing a fo­rum at the expo, sug­gest­ing that the re­gional gov­ern­ment should pro­vide its own tourism spe­cial­ties to pro­mote the lo­cal econ­omy.

He called on the gov­ern­ment to build more roads and park­ing lots, and to pay close at­ten­tion to en­vi­ron­men­tal and cul­tural pro­tec­tion. tourism

Num­ber of tourists from home and abroad who vis­ited the Ti­bet au­tonomous re­gion in 2015

TENTSEN SHINDEN / TI­BET DAILY

Ti­betan artists per­form dur­ing the Third China Ti­bet In­ter­na­tional Tourism and Cul­ture Expo in Lhasa on Sun­day.

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