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Tibet 'Landscape Drama' aimed at boosting tourism


08-15-2014 00:23 BJT

Although Tibet has attracted visitors for centuries, modern tourism is still in its infancy, and the area's cultural heritage remains largely untapped to outsiders.

Gyantse county

Gyantse county

But things are changing, largely because of a 20-year funding project aimed at radically improving tourist sites and facilities.

Under a special partnership program, the city of Shanghai has been sending development aid to Tibet for the past two decades. It has helped to fund a  landscape drama called 'Impression of Gyantse.'

Twenty million yuan, or around US$3 million, has been pumped into the production, which is set for its stage debut on Friday. It is part of a wider project to boost tourism in Gyantse county, and features the region's rich music and dance culture.

"It's the perfect place to stage this landscape drama. The mountain, the ancient castle, the temple. We're using the surrounding scenery to create a wonderful ambiance," said its artistic director Gan Xiangning.

One segment of the play focuses on a popular legend in the region, which is more commonly seen in Tibetan Opera. It is centered on the life story of a beautiful girl, Lang Sa.

Gyantse county

Gyantse county

Lead actress Mi Zhen has performed in Tibetan opera for 14 years. But this is her first time performing in a drama.

"Before, I've always performed in theaters or plazas. I'm excited to act in a landscape show," she said.

Apart from a few professionals such as Mi Zhen, most of the performers are local amateurs. Just five months since its inception, tourist officials say that they hope it will draw more visitors to China's remote western region.

"It might persuade people to stay an extra day. We hope it will contribute something to the local economy," said Tibet Tourist Agencies Association deputy director Xu Jianming.

US$20 million has also been spent in nearby Sakya Town to build a passageway to the monastery, and beautify the local river. It is all part of a string of projects funded from across China, aimed at sharing Tibet's charm with the world.

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