Tibet Expects 7.5 Million Tourists In 2011

LHASA, Jan 19 (Bernama) -- Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region is striving to become a major destination for worldwide sightseers with an estimated 7.5 million tourists to visit this year, Xinhua news agency quoted the regional government leader as saying on Wednesday.

Padma Choling, chairman of the regional government, estimated that Tibet's tourism industry would generate 7.6 billion yuan (US$1.15 billion) in revenue this year.

At a regional conference on economic work, Padma Choling described tourism as a "leading industry" in Tibet.

"This year, we aim to draw in more international sightseers."

To that effect, he said the regional tourism administration would promote Tibet's top attractions to the international market.

"We'll also improve infrastructure, the environment, first-aid services and the communication skills of tour guides."

Meanwhile, he said Tibet will further promote its cultural industry, hoping to impress international tourists with traditional Tibetan art, handcraft and the pastoral life of Tibetan farmers and herders.

Last year, Tibet received an estimated 6.82 million tourists and earned 6.93 billion yuan in tourism revenue.