Over three million tourists have visited Tibet in the first nine months of the year, up 65 per cent over the same period last year, local tourism authority said on Saturday. <b1>
The figure is 500,000 more than the number of tourists for the whole year of 2006, which was reported as 2.5 million.
The booming influx of tourists brought one billion yuan (133 million US dollars) in revenue to the Himalayan region, an increase of 90 per cent, Xinhua news agency quoted statistics from the Tibet autonomous regional tourism bureau as saying.
More than 2.99 million of the tourists were Chinese and nearly 100,000 came from abroad, spending almost 30 million US dollars.
Vice-director of the tourism bureau, Wang Songping attributed the growth in tourist numbers to promotional efforts and the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which began operation on July 1, 2006.
The railway line, the world's highest, links the Tibetan capital of Lhasa to several Chinese cities, offering much cheaper mode of travel to the remote region.
By the end of September, the number of tourists taking train to Tibet is expected to reach 1.2 million.
This year, Tibet expects to host 3.8 million tourists, the regional development and reform commission, the top planning body of the Himalayan region, said.