Travelers will now find it easier (and faster) than ever before to apply for a travel permit to Tibet as the regional government makes efforts to boost tourism to the region. The Tibet autonomous region plans to cut the time for issuing travel permits to overseas tourists by half in 2019. The process currently takes at least 15 days to receive the permits after documents have been submitted. In 2018, the region received 270,000 visits from overseas travelers, a number the government hopes to grow considerably in 2019.
The government will also be announcing plans for overseas tourists to be able to apply for permits in cities like Beijing, Xi’an and Chengdu, rather than having to apply by sending documents directly to Tibet. Tibet also plans to build an international tourism cooperation zone in the Gangdise Mountain range, according to the government work report. The zone includes the sacred religious destinations of Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar. Pilgrims from the autonomous region and neighboring countries such as India and Nepal believe that walking a full circle around Kailash can bring prosperity and purify one of the sins of a lifetime. Service stops specializing in accommodating the needs of tourists are also planned.