LHASA, July 15 (Xinhua) -- A new railway that began operations last month in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region linking regional capital Lhasa with the city of Nyingchi is expected to contribute to strong tourism development as it brings convenience to visitors.
In June, Nyingchi received 1.24 million tourists, up 15.33 percent from 2019, the year before the COVID-19 epidemic, according to figures released Thursday by the city's tourism development bureau.
In the first half of this year, the city received 5.03 million domestic and foreign tourists, up 10.89 percent from the same period in 2019, while tourism revenue went up 7.06 percent from 2019 to 3.93 billion yuan (608 million U.S. dollars).
The opening of the Lhasa-Nyingchi railway, Tibet's first electrified railway, will bring new opportunities to tourism development, the bureau said.
The railway officially began operations on June 25. Compared with road transportation, it reduces the travel time from Lhasa to Nyingchi from 5 hours to about 3.5 hours.
Zhang Rundong, deputy Party chief of the bureau, said that due to the new railway, the city is expected to see its tourism target exceed the goal of 10 million visitors this year.
"We are confident that the tourism sector will see strong growth in the future," he said.
Tibet has set a target of receiving 61 million tourists annually and generating yearly tourism revenue of 64 billion yuan by 2025.