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Tibetan charms center stage at tourism expo

By YUAN SHENGGAO Source:China Daily Global 2023-07-07

Autonomous region's unique history, traditional crafts, artworks and natural beauty demonstrated at key event in its capital city of Lhasa

The fifth China Xizang Tourism and Culture Expo in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet autonomous region, on June 16-18, showcased the region's unique tourism and cultural resources while seeking more commercial and economic cooperation.

Altogether 612 domestic and overseas enterprises — including 75 companies from 12 countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal and Bhutan — attended the event, according to Chodar, deputy secretary-general of the regional government. Xizang is the Chinese name of Tibet.

Various activities were held during the three days, including a keynote forum, an exhibition, a product sales exhibition and a tourism marketing promotion conference.

The event was co-hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the regional government of Tibet.

"Tibet is located in the hinterland of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It is a gateway to the southwest border of China and a key barrier of ecological safety, an important location of the Belt and Road Initiative and an important opening pathway to South Asia," Hu Heping, minister of culture and tourism, said while addressing the opening ceremony of the expo.

"This international tourism and cultural expo aims to build a professional and international exhibition platform to showcase the beauty of Tibet's ecology, culture, history and the new achievements of socialism modernization of the region," Hu said. He added that more people from home and abroad will get to better know, understand and like Tibet via the expo.

On the sidelines of the expo on June 17, Wang Junzheng, Party secretary of the Tibet autonomous region, told foreign delegates at a forum that Tibet's prosperous and harmonious environment — featuring political and social stability — and strong economic development are great opportunities for businesses from across the world.

In his keynote speech, Wang highlighted the region's high-quality development, ecological conservation efforts, improved livelihood opportunities and scientific achievements on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

"Tibet will share new development opportunities and build an open cooperation platform, making friends from a wider community, taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative and transforming itself into an important gateway for opening-up to South Asia," Wang said.

The region's GDP exceeded 213 billion yuan ($29.39 billion) in 2022. The per capita disposable income of urban and rural residents reached 48,753 yuan and 18,209 yuan in 2022, respectively, according to local statistics.

Deals on 60 projects with a total value of more than 53 billion yuan were signed on June 17 at the expo. Seven strategic framework agreements were also signed.

The previous sessions of the expo that the autonomous region hosted took place in the years of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Six more countries participated in this year's expo compared with the last one. The exhibition displayed nearly 10,000 products in 19 categories, including consumer electronics, handicrafts and local specialties.

Tibet is an autonomous region in the southwest of China. It is one of the nation's most attractive tourist destinations with unique resources.

Known as the "roof of the world", it is home to the highest plateau on Earth. The region's towering snowcapped mountains, vast grasslands, tranquil lakes and breathtaking views are a paradise for tourists. Must-visit places include the Potala Palace, a UNESCO world heritage site; Mount Qomolangma, also known as Everest; Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon and more.

Tibet is also famous for its rich ethnic culture, including Tibetan dance, thangka painting and Lum medicinal bathing of Sowa Rigpa — a traditional Tibetan bathing for medical purposes, which was inscribed onto the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2018.

In 2022, Tibet received about 30 million domestic and foreign tourists, generating tourism revenue of about 40 billion yuan.

Artists perform at the opening ceremony of the fifth China Xizang Tourism and Culture Expo in Lhasa on June 16. ZHANG RUFENG/XINHUA

Visitors inspect Tibetan wooden bowls during the expo. SUN FEI/XINHUA

An exhibitor from India displays shawls during the event. SUN FEI/XINHUA

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