BEIJING, March 3 (UPI) -- China has revealed a 15-year plan to develop Tibet into a top tourist attraction, drawing some 2.5 million domestic and foreign visitors by 2010.
The government expects revenue from tourism in Tibet to reach $500 million by that year, accounting for 10 percent of local gross domestic product, Xinhua news agency reported.
By 2020, Tibet is expected to draw over 1 million foreign tourists and 9 million domestic visitors, bringing in $2.8 billion and making up 18 percent of its GDP.
Currently about 1 million tourists visit Tibet each year, most of them Chinese.
Losang Jamcan, vice chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, said tourism would help promote urbanization, build infrastructure and protect the environment. He said it also would help protect traditional local culture.
Many Chinese consider Tibet exotic, with its unique, primarily Buddhist culture and high-altitude climate and geography.