(eTN) – China tourism authorities plan to allocate 10 million yuan (1.3 million U.S. dollars) to renovate toilets in popular attractions in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
“We will appropriate 40 million yuan from the national tourism development fund to improve the region’s tourism infrastructure,” said Du Jiang, deputy head of the National Tourism Administration, at a conference on the development of Tibet tourism industry on Tuesday.
“This is the largest sum that we have ever allotted for a region’s tourism development. Of the money, a quarter will be used for renovating toilets in tourist spots.”
The spectacular natural sceneries and unique cultural attractions of the autonomous region have lured an ever-increasing number of tourists, both domestic and foreign. Tibet expects to receive 4.02 million tourists this year, a year-on-year increase of 64 percent.
“Tibet has a bright future for developing its tourism industry,” Du told the conference.
The administration will also train more tour guides who can communicate in foreign languages.
Every year, 80 foreign language speaking tour guides who have graduated from Zhejiang University and Sichuan University come to Tibet and work as tour guides.
“Nankai University and Beijing International Studies University will also participate in training 200 tour guides for Tibet,” Du said.
Tourism is Tibet’s main industry. The region received 2.5 million tourists last year and reaped 2.77 billion yuan in total tourism earnings. This accounted for 9.6 percent of the region’s gross domestic product.