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Qinghai Ecotourism Network

Following dialogue with several key tourism stakeholders in Qinghai Province, with initial focus on development of ecotourism in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a Qinghai Ecotourism Network was established in 2011. 

In November 2009, a workshop focused on ecotourism development was held at Qinghai Normal University, co-hosted by Plateau Perspectives, to bring national and global experiences 'to the table' and thus to help develop sustainable, responsible and equitable tourism options for the province. Later, on 11 April 2010 (just three days before the devastating earthquake in Yushu, on 14 April 2010; click here for more information), several local stakeholders including a tour operator and community representatives met in Jiegu town to further develop the concept and specific requirements of a new Ecotourism Network in the region. Further planning, however, was disrupted for several months by the earthquake and its aftermath.  

Then in November 2010, the Yushu International Ecotourism Workshop was held in Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province, to help determine more specific ways to promote regional tourism that benefits local communities, both inside and outside nature reserves. Active participants included delegates from several herding communities, local tour operators, Yushu Tourism Bureau, Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve and Qinghai Normal University. Special advice and experience was also gained from two invited delegates from Mongolia (from PCC Mongolia and from a herding community in South Gobi) and from the United Kingdom (from Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent). These projects were led by Plateau Perspectives, a non-profit organization that has worked in the Tibetan Plateau region for more than a decade. Funding for this formative workshop came from the Norwegian Agency for Development (NORAD), Ford Foundation, and Canadian and Swiss embassies in Beijing.

At this meeting, the role and significance of community participation in tourism was discussed, and participants further refined their understanding of sustainability, environmental protection and equitable sharing of benefits. Several local community voices were heard for the first time and the value of adopting a cross-sectoral 'tourism for development' approach was recognized. The establishment of an Ecotourism Network was agreed in principle.

With the establishement of the Qinghai Ecotourism Network, applications for membership are now welcome. Please click here to request more information (and write "Application for membership in Ecotourism Network" in the subject box).

Applications will be reviewed in the light of recognized Principles of Ecotourism by a team of specialists; some additional communication with applicants may be required to determine the extent to which they meet basic criteria. Applicants may include local communities, specialist tour operators, travel and tourism associations, tourism bureaus, academic researchers and others.