LHASA, March 7 (Xinhua) -- More than 70 percent of travelers to southwest China's Tibet autonomous region would like to return for a second trip to the plateau, an official survey shows.P The research, conducted annually and published by Tibet's tourism administration on Wednesday, shows 98.2 percent of the tourists are happy with Tibet's environment and services, while 73 percent are planning a second trip.
Last year, Tibet received nearly 8.7 million Chinese and international tourist arrivals, up 27 percent year-on-year, according to figures released by the administration.
Meanwhile, the region's tourism income grew by 35.8 percent to 9.7 billion yuan (1.54 billion U.S. dollars).
Senior tourism official Yu Yungui attributed the growth to a significant increase in the number of tourists in the off-season. "Last year, the travel rush came in April, at least a month earlier than normal," he said.
Tibet also offered special winter tour packages by cutting hotel rates and ticket prices to major tourist destinations to draw more off-season tourists, he said.
By the end of 2011, Tibet had 177 star-level hotels with more than 90,000 beds in total, and 1,363 travel service companies with more than 15 billion yuan of fixed assets. The tourism industry employed nearly 250,000 people.
This year, the plateau region is expecting 10 million tourists and 12 billion yuan of tourism income.
By 2015, an estimated 15 million tourists will visit Tibet annually, generating up to 18 billion yuan in annual tourism revenue, according to the region's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015).