|Tibet sees over 1,000 foreign tourists daily|
LHASA, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Tourism numbers have been increasing for southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, with more than 1,000 tourists visiting the region every day, the Tibet Tourism Bureau said Monday.
The bureau said 1,588 foreign tourists from 40 countries, including the United States, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Japan and Nepal, visited Tibet on Sunday.
The number of tourists from the United States on that day reached 330, the largest group among those from the above-mentioned countries. And the following three tourist groups are Germans, Malaysians and Singaporeans, according to the tourism bureau.
Andrzej Brozek, a Polish man traveling with a group of tourists, said he visited the Potala Palace on Sunday, adding that he and his group will stay in Tibet for four more days.
Brozek said his group also visited the Jokhang Temple, a key Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the heart of Lhasa, as well as Barkhor Street, one of the city's oldest streets.
A tour guide surnamed Yang said his company is getting busier every day. Sunday saw Yang guiding a group of Japanese tourists around the city.
Art stores on Barkhor Street said an increasing number of foreign tourists have visited their stores in recent days to buy artwork..
The bureau said Tibet received 1.45 million tourists in the first five months of the year, showing an increase of 25.7 percent year on year.
Of the total number of tourists, 1.42 million were domestic tourists, the regional tourism bureau said in a statement.
The plateau region earned 1.36 billion yuan (215.87 million U.S. dollars) in domestic tourism revenues during the five-month period, the bureau said.
The bureau said Tibet expects 10 million tourist arrivals and 12 billion yuan in tourism revenues this year.
According to the tourism bureau, nearly 8.427 million domestic tourists and 270,800 foreign tourists visited Tibet in 2011.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and the Tibet regional government agreed at a June 7 meeting to encourage air travel companies to establish more routes linking the regional capital of Lhasa with Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as well as several southeast and west Asian countries.
Li Jun, deputy director of the CAAC, said applications for new air routes linking Tibet with other countries will be encouraged in order to boost the growth of Tibet's air passenger volume.
Li said there are currently 32 routes run by six airlines linking Tibet with the outside world. The only international destination among the routes is the city of Katmandu in Nepal.
Li Haiying, general manager of Sichuan Airlines, said the company hopes to open new flights linking Lhasa with Nepal, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the future.
Tibet was once regarded as a difficult area to fly in because of its complicated geographic conditions and unpredictable weather.
However, air transportation in Tibet has retained double-digit growth over the past five years.
Tibet's government chief Padma Choling said that Tibet is striving to build itself into an international tourist destination, with a goal of drawing 15 million visitors annually by 2015.