Watch this space!
We will be working over the next few months to identify tour operators in the region that comply with a proper understanding of Ecotourism and its social and environmental benefits. Selected operators will be listed here.
Tibet EcoTravel Collective is another excellent site that profiles responsible tour agents operating in the Tibetan plateau region.
Be responsible -- and choose a tour operator committed to excellence, with responsible ethics and clear accountability, through which your travels help to promote sustainable development and environmental conservation in the region. Most importantly, please choose a tour operator that works in genuine and close partnership with local people and communities, and in this and other ways support community ventures by selecting their products.
Not all travel destinations, products or tour operators are equal! Of course there is the ever-present cost factor. But more important are the values held by tour operators and other tourism sector stakeholders, which are foundational to the overall travel experience as well as to the conceptual framework of 'tourism for development'. In the short term, the quality of tourist sites and landscapes and of the experiences sought by tourists must be maintained; and in the long term, the negative impacts that tourism can have on local communities and the environment must be minimized, and positive contributions to local people's livelihoods and the environment should be maximized.
Therefore the values and principles that guide tour operators are particularly important, even critical, for the proper development of sustainable, responsible tourism in the region (see the Ecotourism section of this site for more information).
On this page are links to several local or specialist tour operators that are committed to excellence in tourism, not only in service to the customer but also through fair and equitable sharing of benefits with local communities and support for environmental conservation.
More tour operators may be listed in the future (or be removed from the site, if necessary), since the main purpose of QinghaiEcotourism.com is to promote a values-based approach to tourism business development in the province, which will help to generate local development opportunities and bring conservation benefit to the region.
Most benefit will accrue to local communities, however, as travellers and tourists seek to connect directly with community initiatives (several are listed in the Community Ventures section of this site). Therefore, while tour operators are always a great help in the planning and execution of a trip -- always ask in what specific ways their suggested itineraries and plans contribute to local community development and environmental protection. And search through the community ecotourism projects listed on this site, requesting that your trip include a genuine community experience by purchasing community-developed and -owned tourism experiences and products.