|Discourse of Dengzhu, Vice Director of the Tourism Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region|
Since its outset in the 1980s, the tourism of Tibet has developed from small to large, taking the initiate of a leap development among all industries in Tibet. Now it has become an impetus industry for Tibet to change its development model, an advantageous industry to boost the upgrading and optimization of economic structure in Tibet, and a backbone industry to motivate the leap development of Tibetan economy.
1. The Development and Construction of Tourist Resources in Tibet
At present, there are in Tibet 8 national 4 As level tourist scenic areas (the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Monastery, the Norbulingka Garden, the Tibet Museum, the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the Pagsum Co Lake, the Qomolangma Peak, and the Samye Monastery), two 3 As tourist scenic areas (the Nyangrain Holiday Village and the Mindroling Monastery), three 2 As tourist scenic areas (the Rawok Co National Forest Park, the Zezhol Monastery and the Kang Gyan monastery), and two one As tourist scenic areas (the Drolma Lhakhang part of the Rato Monastery, and the Sewugou Monastery). In addition, there are 6 national natural reserves (the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve, the Chang Tang Nature Reserve, the Cibagou Nature Reserve in Zayu County, the Siling Co National Nature Reserve, Yarlung Zangbo River Middle Reaches Black-necked Crane Nature Reserve, and the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon National Nature Reserve), two national geological parks (the Yiong National Geopark and the Zanda Clay Forest National Geopark). What is more, Lhasa is a famous tourist city of China, where there are as many as 297 tourist scenic sites. All the afore-mentioned scenic areas have formed a network centered on Lhasa and extending all over Tibet, and they have laid a reliable foundation for the development of sightseeing tours, folk customs tours and ecological tours, as well as of special tours such as pedestrian tours, exploration and pilgrimages. And its tourist resources have also developed from the simple reception of foreign visitors at the outset to a comprehensive one of tourists who enter and leave China or travel around in China.
2. The Scale of Tourist Industry
Up to 2009, there have been 1,430 various tourist enterprises in Tibet, of which are 80 international and domestic traveling agencies and 142 star-level hotels, with 2,745 luxurious tourist vehicles and more than five billion RMB fixed assets in the whole industry. In Tibet, people directly engaged in tourist industry number 28,400, and those indirectly in tourist industry 142,000. Among these members, Tibetan people amount to 62.8%, and people of Han and other minority ethnic groups 37.2%. So, a tourist service team with Tibetan people as a mainstay has been established. Now, to develop tourist industry has become a way to successfully speed development in many places, and an important means for the many peasants and herdsmen in Tibet to increase their incomes. At present, there have been as many as 4,664 peasant and herdsman households and 34,979 people engaged in tourist services in Tibet, and the incomes from tourism have reached 60.94 million RMB, with household incomes averaging 13,066 RMB, and per capita incomes in cash 1,742 RMB. A large group of peasants and herdsmen have been making a living and even become rich thanks to the development of tourism.
3. The Trend of Tourist Economy
From 1980 to 2008, the tourist revenues in Tibet added up to 18.898 billion RMB, with the tourist income increase 23% higher than that of the gross production in Tibet; the total revenues from tourism only during the 10th Five-year Plan period exceeded the gross production during the 6th Five-year Planning period in Tibet. Especially after the Qinghai-Tibet Railway was open to traffic in 2006, the tourist industry has been enlarged rapidly, its growth has been accelerated vigorously, and its quality has been improved obviously. According to statistics, 2007 witnessed a 4.02 million person/times tourist reception for travelers both from at home and abroad, which created a new record in the development of Tibetan tourism; and the total revenues from tourism increased up to 4.85 billion RMB in the same year, covering 14.2% of gross production in Tibet. Tourism has essentially established its mainstay industrial position in the economy of Tibet.
4. The Development during Recent Two Years
The tourism in Tibet underwent heavy blows in 2008 due to many factors, including the serious violent event in Lhasa, the Wenchuan Earthquake and the global financial crisis; consequently, the development of tourism and the growth of tourist economy are thus slowed down. In the face of crises and setbacks, the Tibetan tourism, with a great support from the governments, actively coped with these difficulties and boosted the restoration and development of Tibetan tourism. It received 2.15 million person/times travelers and earned 2.24 billion RMB in total in the same year.
From January to August this year, Tibet received 4.09 million person/times travelers both from at home and abroad in total, 248.1% more than those during the same period last year; and the revenues from tourism totaled 3.23 billion RMB, 168.2% more than those during the same period last year. Only in July, in particular, tourists both from at home and abroad totaled 1,216,000 person/times, 2.3 times more than those in the same month last year; and total revenues from tourism numbered 1.09 billion RMB, 1.9 times more than the same month last year. It has broken the highest record of tourist amounts and total revenues in a single month in the history of Tibet tourism.
5. A Plan for Further Development
The future development of Tibet tourism will mainly come from the governments. Meanwhile, the market will play its basic role of configuring resources, and the whole industry will exert itself to boost tourist infrastructure and supplementary facility construction. The system will be improved, the environment will be optimized, and related talents will be trained. With all these done, it will guarantee an essential improvement in the management of tourist facilities and services, and realize a stride from advantageous tourist resources to superior tourist products, building Tibet into a quintessence tourist resort famous both at home and abroad.
Tibet aims at receiving 6 million person/times domestic and foreign visitors in 2010, with its tourist revenues reaching 6 billion RMB, and numbering more than 12% of the gross production of Tibet in the same year; and the total employment in tourist economy is expected to reach 180,000. By 2015, the tourists both at home and from overseas will reach 9 million person/times, with its tourist revenues amounting up to 11.6 billion RMB, equivalent to more than 15% of the gross production of Tibet, and the employment in tourist economy will total 300,000.
Tibet will make full use of the opportunities to build such a tourist subject as "the World Roof in the Wonderful Tibet" with its profound culture, quintessence products and quality services.