By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, September 25: The so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) will be closed for foreign travellers and Tibetans living outside TAR for ten days next month from October 18-28, media reports say.
Considered as a politically sensitive region, the travel ban has been placed due to the upcoming 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China later next month in Beijing.
There has been no official announcement made, however, there are reports of numerous local travel agencies in the region receiving such notification earlier in the month.
A Tibetan working at an agency in Xining, provincial capital of Qinghai Province, told Radio Free Asia
that the announcement of the ban was made through phone call around 10 days ago.
“During this period, it is not just foreigners but also Tibetans living in the Amdo region of Qinghai who are not allowed to travel in the region,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
The employee at the travel agency expect the tourism market of TAR to take a huge hit due to the ban, which coincidently fall during the peak season.
The travel ban has been placed to avoid any protests during the all-important National Congress, where Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to consolidate his power, analysts say. However, according to another source high-level official meetings have been scheduled in Lhasa during the time of the ban.