Notes on Tibet

This item appears on page 69 of the September 2012 issue.

China is beginning work on a 30-billion-yuan ($4.7 billion), 800-hectare tourism development in Lhasa city, Tibet, that will include a theme park and centers for Tibetan arts and customs as well as commercial and residential areas. China’s spokesperson said the project would relieve tourism pressure on the old city and create a “living museum” of Tibetan culture. The first phase is located a mile from downtown Lhasa.

According to government statistics, 8.7 million tourists from China and abroad visited Tibet in 2011. China hopes to attract 15 million visitors a year by 2015. There are also plans to increase passenger train services to Lhasa from major cities in China.

Note: authorities have often closed the region to tourism whenever there have been prominent protest actions in Tibet (as after the self-immolation of two men this May 27) and during the weeks around each anniversary of the anti-Chinese riot that took place in Lhasa in March 2008.

Note: Travel to Tibet by individuals is prohibited, and, as of June 2012, a minimum of five people is required for each group of persons of the same nationality. Policies on the Tibet Travel Permit for foreign visitors change frequently.