China Starts Winter Tourism Campaign In Tibet’s Potala Palace Amidst COVID-19 Concerns

by Sanjana Shenoy
China Starts Winter Tourism Campaign In Tibet’s Potala Palace Amidst COVID-19 Concerns

Here’s what’s happening in China right now. There are long queues in hospitals in fever clinics. Crematoriums are overwhelmed amidst the massive surge in COVID-19 cases. Yet, China continues to underreport both COVID-19 cases and deaths in the country. World Health Organisation’s (WHO) head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and US President Joe Biden have called on China for its handling of the outbreak. Amidst the alarming number of cases, China has started a winter tourism campaign in Tibet’s Potala Palace.

China Reopened Potala Palace As Part Of Winter Tourism Campaign

China has now opened the Potala Palace in Tibet’s capital Lhasa to tourists. Apart from the palace, several other iconic religious attractions across Lhasa are also reopened in a bid to promote tourism. The Winter Tourism Campaign by China aims to enhance tourism in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). This is alarming as COVID-19 cases are rising by the day in China.

potala palace
Picture Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The Potala Palace housed the Dalai Lamas as a winter abode from 1649 to 1959. The palace was later transformed into a museum and a World Heritage site. Nestled 12,139 feet above sea level, this is the world’s highest structure. And it has a rich history of 1300 years. The Tibetan king Songtsen Gambo built this palace to show his love and affection to Princess Wencheng of the Chinese Tang Dynasty, during their marriage.

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Free Entry To The Palace & Other Lhasa Sightseeing Spots

Now, China has reopened the Potala Palace for tourism from 9:30 am to 2 pm daily. In fact, visitors can enter this palace free of cost and take a tour across the structure housing over 1,00,000 cultural relics. All they need is their IDs to get entry. And not just Potala Palace, they can also visit other scenic sites in Tibet’s capital, Lhasa free of cost.

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While the world continues to put strict restrictions on travellers arriving from China, one wonders if it is a wise move to travel to China and China-occupied Tibet while the COVID-19 cases seem to be rising by the day. At such a time, while certain countries may attract tourists with attractive campaigns, it’s time to travel wisely and give safety top priority. What are your views on this?

Cover Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons