LHASA ( Xinhua)– Several thousand tourists and traders are entering and leaving Tibet through Zham, a town on China’s border with Nepal, each day now that the annual travel rush has begun, local authorities said Tuesday.
Zham, located in Nyalam county of Xigaze Prefecture, is 114 km from Kathmandu and, therefore, a major route for international tourists and border residents travelling between China and Nepal.
The port serves as a crucial link for political, economic and cultural exchanges between the two countries, as well as a major stopping-off point for those shuttling between China and South Asian countries.
Several thousand people travel between Tibet and Kathmandu through Zham Port every day during the annual peak travel season that lasts from June to October, customs authorities in Zham said.
To shorten the travelers’ waiting time, customs officers on the Chinese side have put a bar code on each Nepalese border resident’s ID card.
“It takes only 8 seconds to verify a border resident’s identity, and a few minutes to go through customs formalities,” said Liu Weiqiong, an officer at a checkpoint in Nyalam.
Before the bar code system was adopted, he said even border residents had to wait for hours.
Last year, Zham Port saw 1.6 million entries and exits, including 1.5 million made by border residents, according to figures provided by the Nyalam checkpoint .
Border residents from the Nepalese side often travel through the Nepal-China border bridge – also known as the Friendship Bridge, carrying Chinese-made blankets, stuffed toys and utensils from Zham into Katmandu for use and resale.
In the first six months of this year, border residents made 293,441 entries and exits through Zham Port.
Meanwhile, the port reported 29,131 tourist arrivals and departures.
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