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Railway boosts economic growth in Tibet

Updated: 2014-01-15 10:12
( Xinhua)

Tonzhub, credited as the first Tibetan farmer-turned-hotel keeper, is a millionaire off the back of this and other construction projects he launched with an eye on the influx of tourists. At the weekend, he invited experts from Beijing to look into upgrading his shabby hostel into a starred hotel ahead of the tourist season that begins in May.

"The guest rooms are far from enough," said the 44-year-old former barley planter in Lnaze county. He opened the first "farmer hotel" in the plateau region in 1999.

Tonzhub is just one of the nouveau riche to emerge with the railway.

"Young men in our village have been competing to run passenger transportation businesses ever since the railway opened," said Losang Cering, a suburban villager who lives close to Lhasa Railway Station.

"The number of taxis in our village has grown almost tenfold to 100 at present," said Cering. "Each taxi can earn more than 200 yuan a day."

More than 330,000 people in Tibet, or 10 percent of its population, are engaged in the tourism industry, according to the regional tourism bureau.

Meanwhile, the railway has helped Tibetan produce be transported for sale across China, turning rich resources into big earnings.

Plateau products such as herbs, yak meat and traditional artwork are now sold domestically as well as internationally. Beer brands made with highland barley and plateau mineral water are very popular in China's eastern regions.

"The Qinghai-Tibetan railway has made the hidden advantages of Tibet stand out and greatly improved Tibet's self-development capacity," said Liao Yidong, deputy chairman of the regional federation of industry and commerce.

Investors have pinned high hopes on the returns from tourism, mineral and forest resources as well as ecological environment in Tibet. At a trade promotion event in August in Lhasa, more than 200 programs were signed with a total investment volume of 239.3 billion yuan.

Thanks to the Qinghai-Tibet railway and rapid development of Tibet's industries, the region's import and export volume surpassed $3 billion in 2013, according to customs data.

The new train lines pushed for by the regional government can only prompt more economic growth.


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