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Free to Visit Tibet Policy Inspired Travel to Tibet

TOLL-FREE admission to top scenic spots, hotels at half price, and discount flight tickets have made Tibet a hot destination for travelers since last winter, which is traditionally a quiet tourist season. Tibet has greeted 2.46 million tourists from November 1 to March 27, an increase of 84.2 percent year-on-year, according to Tibet Tourism Bureau.
 
This has been the second winter that Tibet promoted its "Travel to Tibet in Winter" campaign to attract domestic and overseas tourists. Before April 1, people got free entry to top tourist venues, including Potala Palace-a UNESCO World Heritage Site-where admission in other seasons, will set visitors back RMB200 about USD30 and advance reservations are required during peak season from July to September. The winter campaign also requires all hotels in Tibet to offer rooms at half price, including the 5-star hotels such as St. Regis, the Shangri-La, InterContinental Lhasa Paradise in the capital city of Lhasa.
 
Yaks Grazing at Holy Lake Yamdrok Yumtso 
 
The measures showed immediate results when they were introduced from February to April last year.
Compared with the winters of 2016-17, the number of visitors doubled from November 2017 to April 2018. Generally, tours in Tibet only boom between May and October and then becomes very quiet after November, which has resulted in low rates of return on investments in tourist infrastructure. This winter, the average occupancy rate of hotels in Lhasa reached 60 percent and soared to 90 percent in some hotels. In the past, most hotels chose to send their staff to branches outside Tibet to cut costs in winter, but this season was quite different. About 130,000 people in Lhasa make their living from tourism, and some 70 percent are local farmers and herdsmen. So the boost in tourism will significantly increase their incomes.
 
Meanwhile, Tibet has stepped up efforts in environmental protection to cope with the increasing number of tourists. 13 districts and counties of Lhasa will be equipped with wastewater treatment plants by June 1. Lhasa government has planned environmental protection measures ahead of tourist development. Puntsok Khasang Hotel which offers rooms with a view of Potala Palace was fully booked during the Tibetan New Year in February. Many small businesses such as restaurants normally decide to close down for the winter because business has typically slowed to a crawl. This year, they chose to stay open. Some hotel quests even came to Tibet for weekend getaways because cheap flight tickets from Chengdu, Sichuan province to Lhasa were offered over the winter.
 
Although Tibet's climate in the winter months is relatively mild, there is a large temperature difference between day and night. Also, people are more likely to suffer from altitude sickness in the winter when they travel to Tibet which is located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and has an average altitude of more than 4,000 meters because there are fewer leafy trees pumping out oxygen in the cold months. To attract tourists in the winter, many star hotels have installed floor-heating systems in rooms. What's more, many hotel rooms are equipped with oxygen-generating machines to help people ease symptoms.
 
Tibet Travel News - Travel West China Tour Information Center

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