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Glaciers heat up tourism in Tibet

Source:Xinhua 2023-09-13

This photo taken on April 23, 2022 shows a view of the Midui Village located at the foot of Midui Glacier in Bomi County, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. (Xinhua/Sun Fei)

LHASA, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Holding his horse still, Jamnga Norbu carefully helped a tourist get onto the horseback and led it to the glacier.

Jamnga Norbu, 29, hails from Midui Village located at the foot of Midui Glacier in Bomi County in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

Capitalizing on the glacier resources, the village has cultivated a thriving tourism sector, with all 58 households actively engaging in providing horse-riding services for tourists.

"We have received maximum tourists during the peach blossom season in the spring, as well as the summer vacation," said Jamnga Norbu, adding that the upcoming National Day holiday is another peak tourism period.

In Midui Village, horses were once indispensable for farming and transportation, tasked with carrying crops like barley and wheat. However, as modern vehicles and farming machinery took over these jobs, horses fell into disuse until the surge in tourism breathed new life into their role.

Bomi County, home to the largest group of glaciers on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, has over 2,000 glaciers. The county has adopted a series of strict measures to protect the glaciers from pollution.

As tourists are banned from driving to Midui Glacier, those who do not like hiking have turned to the villagers' horses for a ride.

The villagers take turns providing transportation services for tourists, and the fees collected are managed by the village committee before being distributed among the villagers.

Jamnga Norbu said that he began offering horse-riding services in mid-March this year, which has earned him over 32,000 yuan (about 4,435 U.S. dollars) so far.

The road leading to the glacier is dotted with grocery shops, tea houses, as well as specialty and souvenir stores.

"During the peak season, I can earn more than 400 yuan in a single day," said Drolmatso, 36, who runs a roadside store. The store has brought her some 40,000 yuan this year.

Lhapa Tsering, a village cadre, said that villagers have also been organized to become shareholders in the electric tour cart program, with each household investing nearly 30,000 yuan.

Statistics show that the Midui Glacier resort has received nearly 87,000 tourists so far this year, with the tourism revenue exceeding 8.87 million yuan. The per capita disposable income of Midui Village is expected to exceed 60,000 yuan in 2023, with the tourism industry contributing half of the income.

According to the county government, tourism departments will continue to enforce stringent measures to protect the glaciers while also ensuring that the locals reap the benefits of tourism development. 

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