Will a New Hotel Dilute Tibetan Culture?
PHOTO: Lhasa, Tibet (courtesy Thinkstock)
China has unveiled a new luxury hotel in Tibet with an eye to boosting visitor numbers in the country.
According to Agence France Presse, the 103-room Artel boasts a presidential suite with prices upward of $1,000 per night and snow-capped views of the Himalayas. The hotel was designed with the idea that it would attract more visitors to Tibet.
“Tourism officials were hoping to see visitor numbers increase by nearly half in the next four years, said Wang Songping, deputy director of the Tibet Tourism Development Commission,” reports Agence France Presse in an article that appeared in the South China Morning Post.
“Tibet attracted 4 million Chinese tourists in 2005. We hope we’ll get 24 million this year and 35 million by 2020,” Songping told Agence France Presse said.
The new hotel as well as the plan to boost Tibet’s tourism numbers has critics worried.
“Critics said the influx would lead to more of China’s dominant Han ethnic group settling in Tibet and eroding native Tibetan ways of life, and argued that the majority of economic benefits of mass tourism would not go to locals,” they note.
The hotel is just one part of the plan to increase tourism in Tibet. In addition to the lodgings, there is a tourist complex that includes shopping, a lake and an arts center.
There will also be a new connection to public transportation.
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“Transport links are being developed to cater for the influx, including a motorway opening next year, and a high-speed rail line from the capital Lhasa, expected to open in 2021,” says Agency France Presse.
For more on China’s push to build up Tibet tourism, read on here.
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