About THL > Features & Spotlights > Sera Monastery Resources > Sera People: left2
Since Tibet was opened to tourism in the 1980s, Sera has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Central Tibet. The monastery is the closest to downtown Lhasa of the three Geluk “seats” (dge lugs gdan sa gsum), making it easily accessible. Every day, especially during the peak summer months, busloads of tourists (lta skor ba) descend upon the monastery. They visit Sera’s many temples and they watch the monks debate. All non-Tibetans – both Han Chinese and foreigners – must pay an entrance fee. The revenue from tourism is an important source of income for the monastery.
Sera Entrance Ticket, 2002.
Monks are somewhat ambivalent about tourism, however. The large influx of tourists into the monastery, especially during the afternoon summer debate sessions, can be disruptive, and sometimes monks feel as though they are little more than actors on the tourist stage. That being said, most monks are unwilling to forego the economic benefits that derive from tourism. How the issues and problems related to tourism are negotiated is the focus of the next major phase of research of the Sera Project.