Tibet will be closed to foreign travelers from 18—28 October 2017 due to high level government meetings in Lhasa. Read this post for details.
Government Closing Tibet for 11 days in October
On 12 September 2017, the Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa announced that Tibet will be CLOSED to all foreign travelers from 18 October through 28 October. The reason for the closure is that the China Communist Government is holding high level meetings in Lhasa. When these high level government meetings take place in Tibet, the government bans all foreign travelers from being there until the meetings are over. Foreign travelers MUST leave Tibet by 17 October and cannot enter Tibet again until 29 October. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions as this closure is handed down to travel agencies by the highest level of government in China. Travel agencies were not notified about this closure until just yesterday (12 September 2017). It was impossible to know in advance that this closure would happen. Please understand that it is NOT travel agencies that are implementing this closure, but the China Communist Government.
I understand that for many of you it may be hard to understand how an entire region like Tibet can simply close to foreign travelers with relatively little advanced notice. However, due to the sensitive nature of Tibet and because it is part of Communist China, these closures do sometimes happen. Bottom line is that Tibet is part of China and China does whatever it wants and doesn’t care that a closure interrupts the travel plans of thousands of people. Travel agencies cannot be held to blame for this as they must follow the orders of the government or risk getting huge fines and losing their business licenses. Travel agencies are just as frustrated as travelers are regarding the closure. Nearly all travel agencies in Tibet will lose considerable money because of this closure so again, please understand that it is not the travel agencies who are to blame for the October closure.
Your options during this closure
If you have already booked a journey to Tibet during the upcoming closure from 18—28 October 2017, your travel agency will most likely give you a few options to choose from. These options will include modifying your travel route so that you can still go to Tibet, but leave Tibet by 17 October. Another option agencies will give you is to postpone your journey so that you enter Tibet after the government meetings are completed. Foreign travelers can enter Tibet again starting 29 October. A last option travel agencies should give you is cancelling your tour and refunding your journey cost back to you.
Again, please understand that the travel agencies in Tibet are not to blame for this closure and had no advanced warning until yesterday (12 September 2017). They have to follow the orders handed down to them from the Communist government that is over them.
Summary: Tibet closed temporarily in October 2017
- Tibet will be closed to all foreign travelers from 18—28 October 2017. All foreign travelers must leave Tibet by 17 October and cannot enter again until 29 October.
- Tibet will be closed due to high level government meetings that will take place in Lhasa.
- Travel agencies in Tibet are not to blame for this closure and had no advance notice until yesterday (12 September).
- If you are planning to go to Tibet during the 11 day closure, your travel agency should give you options to choose from including modifying your travel route to exit Tibet before the closure begins, postponing your journey until after the government meetings are over or refunding you the cost of your journey.
If you have any questions regarding this upcoming closure in Tibet in October, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org