Beijing: Foreign tourists will be allowed back into Tibet from 5 April, because the troubled region will be “harmonious and safe” by then, the official Xinhua news agency quoted a top tourism official as saying.
Tibet and ethnic Tibetan areas of other provinces have been closed off to outsiders for over a month, with armed police blocking roads into the region and internet and mobile phone services curtailed in some areas.
“Tibet will resume receiving foreign tourists as of 5 April, and we warmly welcome them,” Xinhua quoted the head of Tibet’s tourism department as saying on Sunday.
“Reception work was suspended in March for the sake of travellers’ safety ... Tibet is harmonious and safe now,” said Bachug, who like many Tibetans uses only one name.
The fiftieth anniversary of the flight into exile of the Dalai Lama, still a revered spiritual leader for most Tibetans, and the one-year anniversary of deadly rioting in Lhasa both fell in March and Beijing feared a repeat of unrest.
Tibet also celebrated for the first time a “Serfs’ Emancipation Day” on 28 March, which the government-in-exile said was provocative and based on a distorted reading of history.
Foreigners still need special permits, in addition to a Chinese visa, if they want to visit the region.