The charm of Tibet makes this region a mainstay of many a bucket list. In the first nine months of the year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the border region welcomed tens of millions of tourists.
LHASA, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- The runners and spectators of a marathon in Nyingchi, Tibet Autonomous Region, southwest China, would agree that the magnificent Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon and the cloud-kissing Mount Namjagbarwa make the race one of the world's most scenic.
"The landscape on the plateau and the unique charm of the border region makes everyone's day," said Su Qi, a tourist from Guangdong Province, south China.
Tourists ride motorcycles near Sapu Mountain in Ngachu, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, Oct. 11, 2020. (Xinhua/Jigme Dorje)
Covering an area of more than 1.2 million square kilometers, Tibet fascinates tourists from home and abroad with breathtaking scenery including the mountains of the Himalayas and the northern prairies.
Although tourism across the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic this year, Tibet remained a popular tourist destination, thanks in part to the effectiveness of its epidemic prevention and control measures.
In the first three quarters of 2020, the region saw over 32 million tourist arrivals and its tourist revenue totaled about 33.5 billion yuan (5.1 billion U.S. dollars), powered by a recovery of tourism in the first six months.
Locals wave to tourists at Lulang Township in Nyingchi City, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, July 26, 2020. (Zhang Rufeng)
After the Ministry of Culture and Tourism gave the green light to the resumption of domestic group tours in July, tourists flocked to Tibet.
During the first seven days of this year's eight-day National Day holiday, in October, Tibet welcomed more than 1.77 million domestic and foreign tourist visits, up 11.45 percent from the same period last year. Tourist revenue reached 935 million yuan, up 14 percent year on year.
The convenience of transportation also contributed to the growth.
The first high-speed rail train with a theme of tourism in Tibet debuts at the Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, east China, Aug. 25, 2020. (Xinhua/Purbu Zhaxi)
More than 100,000 kilometers of highways had been built in Tibet by the end of last year. In early November, construction work began on the Sichuan-Tibet Railway, and airports in places such as Ali Prefecture and Qamdo City, are being renovated or expanded.
"Tibet is no longer far away," said Wang Songping, head of the regional tourism development department.
Tourists pose for a photo on Mount Qomolangma, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, May 5, 2020. (Xinhua/Purbu Zhaxi)
Moreover, in attempts to further boost winter tourism and increase visitors to the north of the region, Tibet has now introduced a number of travel routes and lower ticket and hotel prices.
Users of "Tibet Tour", an app offering travel information about Tibet, visit Lake Yamzhog Yumco, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, June 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Cao Pengyuan)
Tibet will promote smart tourism, reduce the cost for tourists and improve traveling convenience in the future, said Wang.
Meanwhile, through tourism, Tibet is supporting local industries and increasing local incomes, meaning tourism is benefiting residents, too.■