Horseback Planet Society
“Horseback Planet Society” was established to help develop sustainable community tourism in mountains regions, building on early work pioneered in the Yangtze River headwaters and the Qinghai Lake area. With a focus on environmental conservation and on horse-riding as a way to connect with nature and local cultures, the Society’s approach to responsible tourism is gaining great popularity in China. Plans are now also being put in place to further extend the reach of its mission, including the development of community partnerships in the Tianshan and Caucuses mountains.
Plateau Perspectives has long supported the development of the HPS model of community-beneficial tourism – including an inspiration study tour to Nepal in 2011, joint trialing of community tourism activities in the Longbao wetlands, capacity building for guides, and the on-going development of an accreditation system for both guides and clients involved in horse trekking tourism.
Currently, HPS is launching community-based horse riding tourism in eastern Tibet Autonomous Region with professional and logistic support from Plateau Perspectives and the Qomolangma Glacier Foundation. Several exploratory tours already have taken place in Kyrgyzstan, in collaboration with local community rangers and the Ilbirs Foundation. Plans are now also being made to begin similar work in the Caucasus Mountains.
Marc Foggin and Chris Yuan have recently summarised the HPS experience and its innovative approach for the development of ecotourism for both people and nature in a working paper entitled Promoting conservation & community development through ecotourism: Experiences from valued conservation landscapes on the Tibetan plateau.