China Closes Tibet To Travelers

Earlier this week China once again took steps to close off the borders of Tibet once again, as the region prepares for a new round of tensions as we approach the 50th anniversary of the exile of the Dalai Lama. The move mirrors similar steps that were taken last year, when protests by Buddhist monks turned violent.

British newspaper The Telegraph is reporting in this story published a few days back that tourist operators in Tibet have been told to cancel all upcoming trips for the foreseeable future, and most expect that it will be some time before normal travel resumes.

Tibet is a popular tourist spot with the backpacker and adventure travel crowd. Its proximity to the Himalaya and its Buddhist culture have long held an allure with visitors from the West, with many making the journey to see the ancient temples and to visit the famous Everest base camp on the North Side of the mountain. As such, tourism has become the most important aspect of the Tibetan economy, employing thousands of people, either directly or indirectly, but for a second year in a row, it looks as if those people will be scrambling to find another way to make a living during what is traditionally one of their busiest times of the year.

The travel restrictions on Tibet aren’t limited to just the tourists however, as foreign journalists have also been denied access. Many had hoped to come to cover the anniversary events, but now have been denied as well. It looks like for now, Tibet is once again closed off to the world.