Tibet reopened to foreign tourists yesterday after a three-month travel ban prompted by deadly rioting in March. But officials and industry insiders were cautious about whether tourism would return to peak-season levels in August. Travel agencies said their phones were busy again after months of slow business following an announcement on Tuesday from the autonomous region's tourism authority that the ban had been lifted. Hotel rooms in Lhasa had been vacant since protests erupted on March 14. Officials were cautiously optimistic, with some saying authorities would be tougher at first about issuing entry permits. Two Swedes were the first tourists known to have set foot in the Himalayan region, although some hotels said they received foreigners yesterday. An attendant at the Snowland Guesthouse near Lhasa's Barkhor Square said a Japanese tourist checked in yesterday, the third guest since March. Tranor, deputy director general of the Tibet Tourism Bureau, said it was the right time to reopen the region to foreigners because 'complete stability' had returned and the Olympic torch had passed through. 'We wanted to provide a safe environment for the torch relay in Lhasa, and that has been accomplished,' he said. 'This was part of the reason we decided to reopen Tibet now.' The much-criticised Olympic torch run in Tibet was staged last Saturday under tight security. It was reduced to a one-day event in Lhasa from the original three days amid fierce opposition from overseas pro-independence activist groups, although officials said the change was due to the Sichuan earthquake. Officials have blamed social instability for their decision to close Tibet to tourists since the unrest. Mainlanders were allowed back in late April, and tourists from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan were admitted last month. Tranor said all the tourist spots were open to the public, including monasteries where monks had protested. But he said it would be a while before tourism returned to previous levels. 'It's really hard to say. I don't know how long it's going to take,' he said. Lily Zhang of Tibet Foreign Individual Traveller, a Beijing-based travel agency for foreigners, said concerns over safety were preventing some people from going to Tibet. 'Some people are still concerned whether it's safe to go there now. 'But there are still a lot of people who are very keen to go there, especially after having been banned for so long.' Zhang Ying, of Access Tibet Tour, a Lhasa-based travel agency for foreigners, said her phone rang again yesterday for the first time in three months. 'We basically stopped working from March, and today we received some inquiries.' Ms Zhang said the authorities were expected to be stricter in issuing visitor permits.