[photopress:tibet_railway_1.jpg,full,alignright]There is a long-term plan for the tourism industry’s sustainable development on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The scheme (2006-20) plans to develop the region along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway into a top-quality tourist destination, which it is hoped will attract some 3 million tourists each year, staying for an average of seven to 12 days by 2020.
Yang Kaizhong, an economist and professor with Peking University who heads the planning team, supported by the China National Tourism Administration, said the development should not be achieved at the cost of the environment.
As a preventive move, Yang’s team has defined ‘no entry’, ‘entry limit’, ‘free entry’ and ‘encouraged entry’ sections in the region.
Yang Kaizhong said, ‘Ten natural reserves in the region, such as the core region of Hoh Xil national nature reserve, will be barred from any entry or tourism development.’
Somewhat fragile and totally irreplaceable scenic spots like the Potala Palace and Tar Lamasery are areas where limits will be set for tourist entry.
But entry into major towns, such as Lhasa, Nagqu, Golmud and Xining, and some scenic spots that are capable of receiving unlimited numbers of tourists, such as the formal research base of China’s first atomic bomb, are encouraged.
It is expected 85,100 hotel rooms will be needed along the railway by 2020, most of which should be located in the towns.
Yang Kaizhong said, ‘We do not encourage building high towers and star-rated hotels there. It is better to have more family hotels, small-scale inns and non-permanent facilities with strong local cultural and architectural features in the community’.
This plan neatly demonstrated the dilemma of all planning authorities. You build a railway and tourists will come. Tourists, if only through erosion by walking, can create problems. This plan seems most intelligently to accept that tourism is inevitable and that it needs to be contained.
Source: China Daily