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The number of tourists visiting the remote Himalayan region of Tibet in the first half nearly doubled to more than 1 million, helped by a new rail link and new airport, Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.
They spent 990 million yuan ($153.3 million), again almost double the same period last year, the report said.
There was also a one-fifth rise in flights to Tibet, which now has three civil airports with regular services.
"The opening of the Qinghai-Tibet railway and Nyingchi airport as well as other improvements in basic infrastructure have driven the development of Tibet's tertiary sector," it said.
Most the tourists were domestic. Just 73,000 came from overseas, the report said.
Train services from Beijing to the Tibetan capital of Lhasa began last July, opening the door to a surge of Chinese and foreign tourism to the region.
Tibetan activists have warned that tourism and migration by Han Chinese could swamp Tibet's distinctive culture, with Tibetan people receiving less than their share of new jobs and income.
China, which expects the number of tourists visiting Tibet to reach 6 million in 2010, is building a fourth airport at Ngari in the west, which will be the world's highest.
August 2, 2007 - 12:33PM
Sydney Morning Herald
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