June 20, 2008

China to Reopen Tibet to Foreign Tourists Soon

Text of report in English by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News Agency)

LHASA, June 20 (Xinhua) - Tibet will reopen to foreign tourists soon, Palma Trily, executive vice chairman of Tibet, told a press conference here on Friday.

The official, however, said the move would not occur immediately after Saturday's Olympic torch relay. He did not give specific date.

Travel agencies in Tibet stopped to received tourists after the riot for safety concerns. The tourism market reopened to domestic tourists in late April and tourists from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan on May 1.

Many hotels, restaurants and tourist resorts suffered damages in the riot and they need time to recover, Palma Trily said.

"I believe the full reopening of Tibet's tourism will not take long," he said.

Tibet has received 120,000 domestic tourists of more than 100 groups since April 24.

A 50-strong delegation of journalists left Beijing for Lhasa on Friday to report the Olympic torch relay. The group included staff from 29 overseas news organizations, including BBC, Reuters, AP and AFP.

The Information Office of the State Council said China cordially welcomed journalists from around the world to cover the Beijing Olympic Games and the torch relay activities.

The Beijing Organizing Committee of the Games of the 29th Olympiad (BOCOG) announced the torch relay schedule in Tibet was cut to one day on June 21 from the original three days of June 19 to 21.

Originally published by Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 1620 20 Jun 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.