Southwestern China's Tibet autonomous region has launched a series of favorable tourism policies to draw travelers to enjoy its winter charms from Nov. 1 to March 15.
All State-owned scenic spots rated AAA or higher (AAAAA is the highest rank) are admission-free during the period. Those under AAA and private attractions will offer tickets at half of the offseason prices, says Wang Songping, Tibet's tourism development commission's director.
All star-rated, international and boutique hotels in Tibet, and various air routes to the region, will reduce rates by at least half compared with the peak season, Wang says.
Businesses organizing group tours to Tibet via chartered flights and special tourism trains will be rewarded with monetary incentives.
Tibet enjoys sunny days and starry nights in winter. Many people visit its capital, Lhasa, to see the more than 130 bird species that inhabit the area during the season, Tibet's tourism authority reports. And many folk festivals and Buddhist celebrations also take place during the colder months.
About 2.67 million domestic travelers visited Tibet between January and April, a year-on-year increase of more than 63 percent compared with 2017. Total tourism revenues also increased by nearly 63 percent to exceed 3.5 billion yuan ($504.6 million).
The average occupancy rates of major hotels in places like Lhasa and Nyingchi exceeded 50 percent during the first four months of this year.
A new draw to the region is the Luxury Wild Tibet program that features plateau hiking, camping and rafting. The program is developed by China's biggest online travel agency, Ctrip, and Tibet's tourism commission. Routes cover Tibet's Basum Lake scenic area, the Himalayas and the region's southeastern swath.
The region hosts towering mountains, myriad lakes and magnificent glaciers, making it ideal for outdoorsy types. Its biodiversity also appeals to nature lovers.
Indeed, the new policies seem likely to encourage a growing number of visitors to discover Tibet's natural winter appeal.