News and Views on Tibet

Tibet opens doors to individual tourism: report

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BEIJING, January 6 – Foreigners wanting to visit Tibet will no longer be required to be part of a group nor obtain an Alien Travel Permit, state media reported.

The new policy, which went into effect at the end of last year, also applies to Chinese visitors from Hong Kong and Macau, Xinhua reported.

The travel permit was issued by the Tibetan Tourism Bureau and visitors often obtained them from local travel agencies.

Xinhua said the bureau had made efforts to expand its international tourism market, welcoming some 130,000 foreign visitors in 2002, about 2.4 percent more than in 2001.

Revenues from tourism were boosted by 10.8 percent to 51 million dollars, the daily reported.

Some 40 local travel agencies attended tourism fairs in 19 countries in the last year to encourage more visitors to Tibet.

Tibet has been under Chinese rule since 1951. In 1959, the Dalai Lama, the traditional spiritual and religious leader of Tibetans, fled the country and has formed a government in exile in Dharamsala, in northern India.

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