09/06/2010, 00.00
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A five-star hotel planned for the entrance of a Tibetan canyon

The Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) River flows in the canyon. The vice president of the Tibet tourist company announces the project. However, breathtaking views hide dangers such avalanches and flash floods.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A 5-star hotel China is planned for Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon (Chinese: Brahmaputra Grand Canyon), one of the longest and deepest canyons in the world and perhaps Tibet’s most picturesque. However, the proposal has already caused controversy over its impact and dangers.

The hotel, which will have 150 rooms and host some 300 guests, will be built on a hill near the remote city of Pai, said Liu Jianyun, vice president of the Tibet Tourism Co Ltd, in charge of the project. The price tag for the venture is expected to reach 100 million yuan (US$ 14.7 million).

The hotel will cater to the needs of wealthy tourists used to luxury hotels, who complain that eastern Tibet has no such facility. Only youth hostels and rooms rented out by locals are available in the area.

The proposal however has been met by criticism. Yang Yong, who was among the first to trek along the canyon and knows it very well, said, “The view is breathtaking, but there are many dangers: avalanches, snakes, mosquito-borne diseases, flash floods. Any one of them could strike anytime.”

Recent reports have also said that China is planning to build a massive dam in the canyon. This has set off alarm bells in India, which is concerned about the possible diversion of the Brahmaputra River, whose waters are essential for the population and the economy of entire regions.

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