Anna Luebke - Jul 2, 2012
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Xinhua News Agency released news that China wants to expand the Tibetan economy by attracting more tourists. The Chinese government will allocate £40 million in building 22 model villages in Tibet which is expected to be the future tourist destination. Villages will be put up in Nyingchi Country situated 200 miles southeast of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. China is hoping that after construction, this would be an international tourist destination. Furthermore, residents will be able to generate income by providing accommodation services and more.

However, to every great plan is a possible hindrance. Tibetans might oppose the idea because they believe that the Chinese government forgets about religious and cultural practices they have had for years for the sake of the economy.

This announcement came just weeks after the decision to prohibit any foreigner from visiting Tibet which followed countless protests at Chinese rule.

Last May 2012, 2 Tibetans set themselves on fire outside the famous Jokhang temple in Lhasa, a Buddhist shrine that a definite tourist vacation. A lot of protests were done before but this was the first time someone has ever hurt himself. China has already prohibited tourists from being in the vicinity most especially during religious festivals.

During the times when foreigners are allowed into Tibet, everything is closely monitored. In fact, tourists without a special vista will not be able to tour. Along side them, as well, will be people from the government that were tasked to be foreigner’s tourists guides. All tours meant for foreigners must make arrangements with Chinese tourists firms prior to the tourists entering the country.

The ban is expected to last until November this year and because of this, British holiday makers have no choice but to cancel planned trips to the region. In fact, one firm namely Wendy Wu Tours has put on hold any holidays to the region until 2013.

Overall, the ban had little impact on the actual number of visitors entering Tibet because the fact that it is a popular tourist destination is inevitable. Xinhua News Agency, only 2 per cent of the 1.45 million visitors to Tibet for the first 5 months of 2012 were foreigners.

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