Monday, February 25, 2008

Tourism in Tibet

The Guardian, Monday, January 14th, 2008, has an article on the dramatic rise in tourism to Tibet, China. Now four million tourists reach this remote part of the world annually. Most are Han Chinese. That is a sixty percent increase from one year to the next. The provincial population is only 2.8 million year round residents. So is this part of a plot to ethnically drown out the local Tibetans? The Dalai Lama, considered a separatist by Beijing, speaks of cultural genocide. Meanwhile iconic tibetan symbols such as the Potala Palace are being choked by people and pollution generated by the likes of 800 buses which come to Lhasa from other parts of the country. The worlds highest airport is being built at Nagari! Bombardier of snowmobile manufacturing fame completed the missing rail link in 2006, which explains in part the influx. Travellers now rise to 11,000 feet in pressurized trains as they journey from neighbouring Qinghai province.