China plans to build massive tourist park in Lhasa

The park, with a planned area of 800 hectares, will be located at a village 2-km from downtown Lhasa.

Updated: Jul 07, 2012, 00:45 AM IST

Beijing: China plans to invest USD 4.7 billion to build a massive culture and tourism park in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet autonomous region, in the next three to five years.

The park, with a planned area of 800 hectares, will be located at a village 2-km from downtown Lhasa, Ma Xinming, deputy mayor of Lhasa city told the state-run Xinhua news agency.

It would improve Tibet`s tourism credentials and be a landmark of its cultural industry, Ma said.

Visitors will be offered regular Wencheng-based outdoor performances and other educational and entertainment facilities tracing the footsteps of the princess in Tibet.

The culture and tourism park will also include an "Art City," home to displays of Tibetan handicrafts and medicine, and a "Folk City," where tourists can get a taste of local life and buy folk goods.

Cultural innovation, business and residential districts will also be incorporated into the project.

Also Chinese officials said plans are afoot to improve infrastructure in pilgrim centres like Manasarovar and Mount Kailash.

Also China said it would increase passenger train services from major cities including capital Beijing to Lhasa to cash in on travel surge as more Chinese from mainland headed to the Himalayan region for holidays taking advantage of the rail route.

With heavy promotions by the Chinese government, Tibet is experiencing a major tourism surge.

From January to March, the region t received 230,000 visitors, up 23.7 per cent from a year earlier.

According to government statistics, 8.7 million tourists from home and abroad visited Tibet in 2011, generating USD 1.5 billion in tourism revenues.

The vast majority of tourists however are locals as foreigners require special clearances to visit Tibet.