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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Tibetan Tourism Office Advises Delaying Trips

September 8, 2007

The Tibet Autonomous Region tourism office in Shanghaiisencouraging people to delay trips to Lhasa until Septr andOctoberwhen the busy summer season ends. They‘re also advisingpeople tobook group tours as prices are cheaper and schedulesbetter.

You can‘t get into Potala Palace if you‘re more than onehourlate, said Liu Bihong, spokeswoman for the Tibet TourismBureauShanghai Office. She returned from Lhasa last week.

Her office recently canceled a Tibetan-style wedding showwhichwould have recommended spots in Tibet for honeymooners. Wefeltthe timing wasn‘t good at the moment, Liu said. The eventispostponed indefinitely.

Since the opening of the Qinghai-Tibet railway on July 1touristsfrom across the country have swarmed to the remote region.Earliermedia reports said Tibet had 301,000 tourists in the first20 daysof July which is a 50 percent increase year on year.

But getting there is only the first step. According toreturneesfrom Tibet, the Potala Palace, normally an essential partofpeople‘s itineraries in Lhasa, has tightened personal identityandsecurity checks.

It took us three hours to get into the palace but it turnedoutthe wait wasn‘t worthwhile, said Shanghai tourist Lu Qiang.Hiswife Fan Huiqing agreed. In Lhasa I felt as though the clockwasticking all the time, said Lu. On several occasions the guardsinthe palace were telling our guide to speed up. The PotalaPalaceallows up to 2,300 tourists to visit daily.

But elsewhere in Tibet it wasn‘t so crowded, Lu addedandconceded that generally the trip has been wonderful.

To ensure entry to Potala Palace tourists need to pick up anentrypermit 24 hours prior to their visit. Permits are availableat thePalace‘s ticket booth provided you have valididentification. Whenvisiting the Palace you simply exchange thepermit for a ticket.Admission costs 100 yuan (US$12.50) perperson.

Lhasa‘s 10,000 hotel rooms are rarely vacant, tourism officialLiusaid. She emphasized that reservations werenecessary.china.org.cn

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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