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Insider Tips for Tibet Travel in an Era of Coronavirus

Known as COVID-19 or NCoV-19, the unexpected global pandemic of the Novel Corona Virus has stunned the world, causing massive infections and fatal deaths across the globe. This new form of Pneumonia has had a massive impact on the whole planet, especially in terms of tourism and international travel. For those who booked the Tibet tour in 2020 or are planning to visit Tibet in the future, there are some expert tips you should know in such an era of a global pandemic.

What is the impact of coronavirus on Tibet travel?

Latest Coronavirus Map in China(Simple click to enlarge the map)
Latest Coronavirus Map in China

As the virus hit almost every part of China, Tibet was the only area of the country that was relatively unaffected by this virulent outbreak. Only one single case was found across the entire Tibetan plateau region, which was quickly and safely handled to limit the contact with other people. During this period of contagion across China, the government has implemented a strict ban on travel to Tibet, to contain the spread of the virus and protect the population of the plateau from further infection.

Tibet remains temporarily closed (at the time of publishing of this post), and while travel is currently restricted, this will soon change as the virus dwindles and the epidemic comes to an end in China. Experts are currently predicting that the plateau region should be able to re-open by around early May or June, and international travelers will be allowed to continue their plans to visit Tibet.

If you are currently troubled over the temporary closure of Tibet due to the virus, then fear not, the plateau is the cleanest and safest place in China where this epidemic is concerned, and the people continue to live their normal everyday lives, despite being locked off from the rest of the world.

Should i cancel Tibet tour booking due to coronavirus?

If you have already booked your tour with us, you may consider canceling it if you have a sense of insecurity. And we respect your personal choice and will cooperate with you for the refund. However, with the plateau still to open later this year for the continuation of travels, we believe that rescheduling your trip for either later in the year, or in 2020, would be the best option, so far.

Visit the holy Jokhang Temple in LhasaJokhang Temple, one of the highlighted attractions in Lhasa, Tibet

Tibet may not have been hit hard by the virus itself, but the economy has suffered heavily due to the closure of tourism, one of the largest industries in the region. Continuing your trip to Tibet not only gives you the chance to still visit this beautiful region, but also helps the Tibetan economy, and therefore the local Tibetans involved in tourism, can recover from the damage this outbreak has caused.

Your visit to Tibet will help to keep people in work, and not be laid off from work due to lost tours, which helps the people, their families, and the local economy to survive and recover. And travel to Tibet will be just as safe as it ever was before, with many in the tourism industry offering discounts on flights, tours, and hotels, once the plateau opens up again.

To those who plan to visit Tibet, what can you do now?

If you have been thinking about taking a trip to Tibet, but have yet booked your Tibet tour, then the best thing to do is acting positively now. The following expert tips would help you secure a safe Tibet journey in this eventful year.

Depend on a Local Tibet Travel Agency

Once the plateau region opens up again to tourism, it is important that you book Tibet tours with well-established and reputable travel agencies like us, as we can give you the best options for your personal safety in Tibet. We can also offer our guarantee that you will be approved for your Tibet Travel Permit, which you will need to get into Tibet when it re-opens.

Tibetan tour guide of Tibet VistaTravel Tibet with us, we promise your journey will be ensured with the utmost joy, comfort, and satisfaction.

Besides, Tourism in Tibet should have been open throughout the year this year, and it is up to us, you as well, to help boost tourism in Tibet for the benefit of everyone living here. This is why we are now offering a discount of 15% on all tourists that join Tibet Small Group Tours to travel at the end of the epidemic-caused closure. Book between now and the end of April, and we will discount your trip on one of our famous Small Group Tours.

Check the Public Health Level in both China and Tibet (TAR)

In order to know the current situation in China and Tibet, you can check the official website of the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the official news reports from the government of China on the safety of travel in Tibet. Here, you can get additional tips on traveling in the wake of the Corona Virus, information on when and where it is safe to travel, and much more to ease your state of mind. You should also stay in direct contact with your registered tour operator or contact your Tibetan travel consultant to get the latest news on tourism and travel in Tibet and other suggestions on your personal safety once tours resume.

Look for If Flights/Tibet trains to Tibet Are Still Running

For those that are waiting on the news that they can continue with their trip to Tibet, you should monitor the status of flights and trains to Tibet. Once the flights and trains begin to run once again, you can choose the best time to book and take your trip to Tibet, at the best price you can find. Once it is considered safe to enter Tibet again, you will find the flights will be back on the comparison sites and the booking office for the trains will re-open. - Check the ultimate advice for how to get to Tibet.

Closely Monitor the Epidemic Situations in Tibet Entry Cities

Some of the major gateway cities to Tibet have been affected in one way or another by the Corona Virus outbreak, and you should monitor the situation of the epidemic in your chosen departure location. Some areas of China have been hit harder than others and may take longer to recover and continue transport to Tibet. The least-hit areas, such as Chengdu, Xining, and Shanghai, Beijing, HK, etc. are likely to open up sooner than areas hit harder. Choose the safest route to get to Tibet, and minimize even the slightest chance of being exposed to the virus. Meanwhile, Kathmandu, Nepal could also be a safer place to access Tibet. At the time of publishing this article, for all international tourists, you have to have 14-day quarantine for Nepal entry.

Qinghai Lake in ChinaXining is one of the gateway cities for international friends to visit Tibet.

Find Out If Your Travel Insurance Covers the Coronavirus

Travel insurance is an absolute must for travelers around the globe, but you should ensure that you do your homework on the coverage of the insurance policy before agreeing to it. Some policies are now including COVID-19 in their lists of treatable diseases under the insurance policy, while others are refusing to include it, and therefore refusing claims against the policies. If you are unsure of the coverage for COVID-19 on any policy for travel insurance, speak to their customer services first, and check the fine print before signing.

Don’t be deterred by online rumors and fake news

Unfortunately, the internet is filled with fake news and rumors around the virus, and much of it is just scare-mongering on the part of the posters. Some news coverage in certain places has also been shown to be biased against the truth of the epidemic, and the efforts to stem the time of cases in China.

It is important for you to use your own initiative to decide which sites are telling the truth and which are filled with the inevitable fake news that always comes with such occurrences. You can get defined situation reports about the status of COVID-19 in China and Tibet from the news article on the WHO website, as well as some of the bigger and more well-established news corporations from around the world, including the BBC and the major Chinese news for international channels like CGTN (China Global Tv Network) that gives details of the current situation.

You got to know how coronavirus spreads and how to avoid infection?

The COVID-19 virus is a new strain of the SARS and MERS type coronavirus that affects the lungs and airways. The virus is believed to be spread from person to person directly by droplets in your exhaled breath when coughing. The virus is believed to be spread by direct contact with these cough droplets, through transfer from packaging that has been coughed on is not out of the question, and could also result in the transmission of the virus.

There are ways to help you avoid catching the infection whilst traveling, and you should be careful and follow some simple guidelines to reduce the risk. These include:
● Wash your hands with soap and water often - do this for at least 20 seconds;
● Always wash your hands when you get home or into work;
● Use hand sanitizer gel if soap and water are not available;
● Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze;
● Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterward;
● Try to avoid close contact with people who appear unwell;
● Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean;

Conclusion

COVID-19 has had an immense effect on China, as well as the economy of Tibet, despite the region not having a single death and only one confirmed case. The region is expected to open again for tourism in May or June, and most tours that were canceled can be re-booked at a later date, or you can obtain refunds.

And Tibet’s economy will rely on tourists coming back, and once the region is open, it will be safe to travel there again. Your trip will help to breathe life back into the region and bring the plateau back to its former glory, and with the love and support of all of you, we can win this battle against the virus. For more professional advice, please feel free to contact us.

Master Kungga Dundruk

About the Author - Master Kungga Dundruk

The Lhasa-born prodigy used to study business overseas, and got his Bachelor of Business in Nepal and India before moving back to his homeland.With pure passion for life and unlimited love for Tibet, Kunga started his guide career as early as 1997.

Responsible, considerate and humorous, he devoted his entire life guiding and serving international tourists travelling in Tibet.As a legendary Tibetan travel guru with 20-year pro guide experience , he once had an exclusive interview with the US media. Currently he is working in Tibet Vista as the Tour Operating Director. Whenever our clients run into troubles, he is your first call and will offer prompt support.

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