Yoghurt festival in troubled Tibet brings back tourists
Foreign tourists who have enjoyed the capital's historical sites and folkways during their Olympic visit might now seize the opportunity to see the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau while exploring the country's vast landscape, Tanor, deputy director of the Tibet tourism administration, said at a press conference in Beijing on Monday.
The region received only 16,000 tourists in April.
But numbers jumped to 96,000 in June and to 350,000 in July, which is "equal to the total of tourists in Tibet in the first six months this year," Yu Yungui, the top official of the administration, said in a recent group interview.
The seven-day festival originated 1,000 years ago, when nomads and farmers offered yoghurt to monks ending their annual summer meditation retreat, and reached its zenith in the 17th century.
This year's celebration consists of activities that include the staging of grand Tibetan dramas and a giant thangka displaying ceremony, Tashi Phuntsog, director of the festival organizing committee, said.
On a side note, last year’s yoghurt festival in Tibet was said to be flooded with Budweiser ads (see eyewitness footage in slideshow). And, although it might seem that the almighty Budweiser has no business sponsoring a yoghurt festival in Asia, in today’s era of bizarre market expansions, everything is possible.