Canada Fund: Building a Community-based Ecological and Cultural Tourism Program in Shangri-la

Developed over four months (from Sept. to Dec. 2011) this project has focused on building-up home-stay capacity and providing extended hospitality training for some 3,500 villagers, students and teachers from the Napahai area (Kesong), Bazhu village and Baima Xueshan Nature Reserve. In addition, an eco-tourism resource center has been established in Shangri-la’s Dukezong old town, helping to connect all of the existing sites.

Among others, the project has provided furnishings and accessories for five families in Kesong necessary to provide a clean, comfortable and sustainable home-stay experience. A number of resources on local biodiversity and tourism have been developed, including a detailed book on Napahai bird life. A range of training workshops has included essential hospitality skills (health and safety training, cooking classes, tour-guiding, local biodiversity knowledge), as well as English-language and cultural training (such as music and dance performance). The project has encouraged a significant participation from women and will serve as a foundation to sustainably improve local livelihoods while helping to protect local biodiversity and cultural heritage.

Baima Xueshan Nature Reserve

Completed in 2006, Baima Xueshan Nature Reserve eco-lodge is the starting point for our community based eco-tourism initiative. A joint scheme between SISC, nature reserve staff and local nomadic herders, the lodge was constructed by local communities using local resources and provides tourism opportunities with minimal ecological impact.

Still in its early stages, the overall goal of our eco-tourism project is to establish a financially, ecologically, culturally, and educationally successful tourism business in Baima Xueshan Nature Reserve. The tourism project will provide a unique experience for visitors that includes traveling through some of the most rugged and remote landscapes, and seeing one of the most important and beautiful nature reserves in China. Within the context of the tourism project, environmental and cultural protection will be first and foremost, with all aspects of the ecotourism business taking ecology and cultural preservation into account. Moreover, the project will generate income dedicated to improving the lives of local villagers, protecting wildlife and the environment, and educating both locals and tourists about the region’s natural and cultural history.

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