The economy of southwest China\'s Tibet Autonomous Region grew 12 percent in the first half of this year, according to the regional statistics bureau. The growth rate was 0.7 percentage points higher than in the same period last year and 4.4 percentage points higher than the country\'s average, said the bureau. The gross domestic product (GDP) of Tibet reached 32.96 billion yuan (about 5.34 billion U.S.dollars) in the first half, it added. The regional economy has been growing in a steady, fast and sound way, said the Tibet Statistics Bureau. The region\'s GDP has maintained double-digit growth annually for the past 20 years. The per-capita cash income of farmers and herdsmen in the region hit 1,999 yuan in the same period, up 14.5 percent year on year. The per-capita disposable income of urban residents increased 12.9 percent year on year to reach 9,528 yuan. Some 3.43 million tourists went to the plateau region from January to June, an increase of 21.8 percent from the same period last year, the regional tourism bureau said. Meanwhile, Tibet\'s tourism revenue surged 32.1 percent year on year to 3.2 billion yuan (517 million U.S. dollars) in the six-month period. China\'s GDP growth slowed to 7.6 percent in January-June of 2013, the weakest first-half performance in three years.