September 2017: The China Government will be closing Tibet to all foreign travelers from 18—28 October 2017. Read this post for more details.
Tibet Temporarily Closed in October 2017
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 (including Himalaya Journey) 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 Himalaya Journey that is implementing this closure, but the China Communist Government. We had no advance notice of this closure until 12 September when the China government gave the announcement to all travel agencies.
Himalaya Journey understands 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 political nature of Tibet and because it is part of Communist China, these closures do sometimes happen without a lot of advanced notice. 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. Himalaya Journey and other travel agencies in Tibet 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 (or Himalaya Journey) who are to blame for the October closure as the closure is handed down to us from the China Communist Government.
Your options during this closure
If you have already booked a journey to Tibet with Himalaya Journey during the upcoming closure from 18—28 October 2017, we will give you a few options to choose from. The first option will be to modify your travel route so that you can still go to Tibet, but leave Tibet by 17 October (the date when all foreign travelers must leave Tibet by). Another option 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. If you cannot postpone your journey to a later date, we can refund you your journey cost according to our booking conditions.
Again, please understand that Himalaya Journey and travel agencies in Tibet are not to blame for this closure and had no advanced warning until yesterday (12 September 2017). WE have to follow the orders handed down to us from the Communist government that is over us.
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.
- Himalaya Journey and other 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, Himalaya Journey will give 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 booked a journey to Tibet with Himalaya Journey during the government closure of Tibet, we will be contacting you soon with options for you to choose from. We apologize for this inconvenience and hope that you can understand that this government-imposed closure is beyond our control.