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Tibet to soon re-open to foreign tourists
April 19, 2008 15:15 IST
The restive Tibet [Images] region, which was closed following violent anti-China protests in March, would be reopened to foreign tourists 'soon', the regional government has said.
Temples in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa would also soon resume religious activities, according to officials in the remote Himalayan region.
Riots broke out in March in Lhasa and other Tibetan-populated areas in the most vicious pro-independence protests in the last two decades, prompting authorities to keep them out of bounds.
The state media had earlier said that Tibet would be reopened to tourists from May 1, but there were also reports that the regional government had abandoned its plan.
Dismissing reports about change of plan, the Tibet regional government said the tourism department 'is doing its utmost to prepare for the reopening of all scenic spots,' the state-run China Daily said.
It said the region would 'open soon' but gave no specific date.
In 2007, nearly four million tourists visited the Tibet region, which leans heavily on tourism as a major source of revenue with its awesome scenic beauty and the Tibetan culture being the main attractions.
Lhasa temples were recovering from the riots, with religious activities returning to order and they would reopen to tourists in the near future, Tubdain Cewang, Executive Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Regional People's Congress, said in Lhasa.
No specific date was however announced, official Xinhua news agency said.
The 950-year old Drepung Monastery now has more than 1,200 monks and most of those involved in the riots were visiting monks, Ngawang Dongjue, the temple's Administrative Director said.
The Drepung Monastery, a lamasery of the Buddhist Gelukpa sect, would soon hold activities, including Buddhist services and debates on Buddhist doctrones five times every month, he said.