There is a new kind of question happening out on the Travel Forum. People seeking others of the same nationality because only 5 people of the same nationality can get a visa. It seems to me a really odd policy and I can't get my head around the reasoning for it. Anyone know? Someone suggested Peruvians might have a hard time getting a group together. (Austrians are the latest group asking.) I wonder which nationality would have the hardest time.
Indians; we hardly agree, one with the other. Imagine a motley group of Indians comprising of 1 Sardarji, 1 Mumbaikar, 1 Bong, 1 Naga and 1 Tamilian. The visa office would close down!
I suspect that this new requirement simply reflects yet more bully boy tactics on the part of the Chinese in respect of keeping Tibet in their stranglehold - but I'm a cynical soul, so I could be wrong. Making it harder for tourists will impact on income from tourism and will also mean that there are fewer tourists around to become inconvenient observers for future crackdowns ... But I think I should probably stop now, as I do live in a country which has consistently been refusing the Dalai Lama a visa to visit Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu in recent years for fear of antagonising Beijing and its investments ...
well i was wondering if the visa issuing office wanted to encourage indiscriminate friendliness - but only among people with the same passport!!! no mixing! (lol re ethnic groupings in india)
I've noticed that as well but as I understand it, it used to be that traveling to Tibet could only be done so by acquiring a travel permit through an agency or as a group. Applications for the permits had to be done well in advance. I don't think it's changed that much other than now one has to acquire the travel permit based on 6 persons traveling of the same nationality. There are companies which match up the nationalities - you may just not have the same flexibility to travel on a specific date as they need to match a minimum amount of people to a date of entry.
oh is it 6 people? 5 did seem quite a random number
and it is the nationality thing that seems odd - why shouldn't a group (if they must have a group) consist of a Pole and a Romanian and a Thai and a Canadian and a Croat and a Finn. Now that sounds like a jolly group.
Sounds like the start to a long joke! I still think that it's simply an obstructionist mechanism on the part of the Chinese to make the visa process even more torturous which might just encourage some prospective tourists to declare it 'too hard' and just give up. As Homer says, nothing else material has changed in the requirements, so it isn't going to achieve better control of tourists. If you were a Maltese, then you'd probably have to wait forever!
Yes, I think it used to be a random group of people where it is now a specific nationality. All American, all British, all Indian and so forth, so on.
I agree with you Catherine. It is almost surely a control issue for the Chinese. I wish I'd visited Tibet several years back when we had the chance. It seems to be getting more and more difficult although tours are still available through various tour agencies. These are the ones that will be benefiting the most I'm sure as they'll be able to hike up their prices due to the almost impossible task of being able to arrange it on one's own.
i am almost wondering if the smaller countries (like Malta) which have no been effectively barred from tibet - aren't important enough, don't weild any power so just don't figure - not even lip service is paid to them any more
Yes, but they can still compete in Eurovision, so all is not lost ...:)
well yeah they can go to sweden and look ridiculous but they might want to go to tibet - some people do i do like to notice the ebb and flow of forum questions - once upon a time it was all cancun, then sharm, then cruises - how to get from civitavecchia to rome (that is still huge actually) and now suddenly - tibet visa questions
Cathy I think you are absolutely right! But I see nothing wrong in saying it out, that they are committing genocide in Tibet. The shame is on the world community not saying/doing anything.
Well they tried to do the same with Denmark as there was made a national football match between Greenland and Tibet in Denmark a few years ago. But the trade embargo never came as we were a member of EC and it would become an embargo of the whole EC. So if we stick together we can do something.
I am responding to this question because my fairly recent experience, that I have posted on VT, apparently no longer is applicable. First to be clear, the travel document is referred to as a travel permit, not a Visa. You need a Chinese Visa and a separate Tibet travel permit. There are also other permits required for visiting special areas, but when needed all permits needed will be obtained by your travel agency-- you can not do it yourself. I went on a group tour that was multi-national and included participants who got to Llasa on different modes of transportation with slightly different schedules, and then toured together. I was given a separate permit to go by train alone from Gormud to Llasa. Apparently this is not possible today. Some time before my visit there was a period during which only people from a single country could be on a travel permit, and they had to tour together, but I think this was only the case for a brief time. A "group of one" could still join a real group in Tibet. Today, I checked with China International Travel Service that provided my permit and tour (as well as a couple other agencies) and I found a notice that as of May 12,2012 foreigners could only travel into Tibet tour on a group travel permit shared by as least 5 people all with the same country passport and same itinerary. This will prove to be a major inconvenience for some. A big agency like CITS might be able to form groups with one country's passport, but even then it will be restricting. (Who wants to travel just with people of their home country?) In the past people who wanted to join a group would go to Chengdu and wait until a group could be formed. This may still happen, but under current conditions this could never happen for just a couple travelers from Peru, for example. My one suggestion for those who do not have a group, it to contact an agency or agencies well in advance and carefully watch for policy changes. (Personally I would be very reluctant to send any money for deposit or partial payment until I felt sure that the trip was going to happen.) Over the last 10 years the one thing certain has been that the policy will change irregularly. The Chinese government does want tourist money, but they are more concerned about the security of their rule in Tibet. Obviously the people working in the tourist industry want tourists to visit, but they have only a limited problem with restricting tourism as long it keeps them in the position of exclusive provider of services and there is a reasonable flow of tourists. The government controls the tourist agencies by holding them responsible for anything a tourist might do in Tibet. good luck.
thanks for that info melosh
As a follow up to this posting, I see that a pair of Mauritians on the Travel forum are looking for another three countrymates for their Tibetan travel permit this afternoon (Friday 1 June). Methinks that they'll be waiting some time ...
I noticed that too Catherine!
Wonder whether they'll make it there earlier or later than the fictional Maltese that I used as my example??? Care to take a bet? ;)
And now a Canadian ... Hell, we could probably run a sort of dating agency matching lonely hearts up by nationality to bond in Tibet! How's that for a nice little sideline???
hahaha.. I like it! It will indeed be difficult for some of these travelers accepting the fact that their trips will have to coincide with one another s / time frame. Ugh, I'd hate that!
the canadian could get lucky - and the austrians the maltese and the mauritians - not so much
How about the absurdity possibly to be faced by an international couple who travel on two different countries passports? Do you think that they really will not be allowed to visit Tibet on the same travel permit?
oh yes of course that is a problem another would be if we wanted to do a trip with our children - we have NZ passports, they have Australian passports
Yes that would be fun. Do on to others like you want to be done too …they might learn a bit of moral philosophy this way.