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Potala Palace receives more than one million tourists this year

December 20, 2007

     LHASA, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Tibet's architectural icon, the Potala
Palace, has received more than one million tourists so far this year, a
56 percent increase year-on-year, a local official said on Tuesday.

     "Potala Palace has taken measures to improve its reception
capability so as to meet the needs of visitors from home and abroad,"
said Jiang Yang, director of Tibetan Culture Bureau at a tourism
promotion meeting held in Lhasa, capital of the autonomous region.

     Jiang added Tibet had built more restaurants near tourist hot spots
to cater to visitors.

     In order to protect the cultural relics, Potala Palace allows no
more than 2,300 visitors per day.

     Starting in January, the palace will sell tickets for 200 yuan
(27.4 U.S. dollars) in the peak summer season and 100 yuan in the winter
low season, respectively.

     Tourism is the main industry in Tibet. The region received 2.5
million tourists last year and reaped 2.77 billion yuan in total tourism
earnings. This accounted for 9.6 percent of the region's gross domestic

     This year, Tibet expected to receive a record-high 4.02 million
tourists with the region's tourism revenues estimated to hit 4.8 billion

     Tibet now has 88 star-level hotels that accommodate nearly 50,000
guests. It also has 56 travel agencies.

Editor: Song Shutao
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