Study Tours

Plateau Perspectives has organized several study tours over the past few years in order to learn from national and global experiences about strategic development topics or practices related to resource governance and management, protected areas management, poverty alleviation and community-based tourism.

After each tour, the participants have returned with increased enthusiasm and have taken on new ideas to implement. It was after one study tour to Mongolia, that the nomads back with hope that they could actually carry out the ecotours, that they could participate in meetings with policy makers and academics, after visiting Parks Canada, new projects and research were begun together with the Forestry Bureau and Nature Reserve.

 

Annapurna Conservation Areas & Chitwan National Park, Nepal
December 2012. A visit to Nepal focused on learning about its experiences in development of community-based tourism, with special reference to protected areas and tourism. Many projects were introduced to the team through visits to government offices, NGOs and donor partners in Kathmandu. This was followed by travel and field visits to small towns that have been transformed (positively) by regional tourism development, several homestays, a number of successful entreprises including the Three Sisters Trekking Company, and visits in the Annapurna Conservation Area and Chitwan National Park. Lessons in tourism planning, park management and community development have been taken back by study tour participants.

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Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, China
November 2011. A dozen people from Kegawa Herders Cooperative, Yushu Tourism Bureau, Agriculture College of Tibet University and representatives from local associations in Linzhi Prefecture joined for a 10-day trip through Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. They learned from Shuguang Community Development Centre about the establishment and operation of community trust funds, small loans, herders cooperatives and business development approaches. Much discussion was also had on current environmental issues, cultural matters in light of rapid development, and the increasing socioeconomic role being played by tourism in the region.

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Destination Røros & Northern Norway
October 2011. A focused study tour to Norway that included specialist meetings in the capital Oslo, a field visit to Røros where a model ‘destination tourism’ approach is gaining global recognition, and field visits and meetings with indigenous leaders in Alta and Kautokeino in the far north. The main focus of this tour was to learn about experiences in the development of sustainable tourism and about co-management between Sami communities (including reindeer herding communities) and government – the latter with particular attention on land use rights, business development, and the provision of educational services including distance learning opportunities. At the end of the trip, a special seminar about sustainable development and Plateau Perspectives’ work in the Tibetan region also was presented at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).

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Northern Thailand
February 2011. A one-week visit to northern Thailand, with Plateau Perspectives staff members and Kegawa Herders Cooperative founding manager, to learn about potential avenues for tourism development including family home stays, handicraft development, community businesses, environmental education and outreach, and adventure tourism.

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National Parks in Western Canada
September 2010. A two-week study tour co-hosted by Plateau Perspectives and Parks Canada for senior protected area managers, government officials and community representatives, focused on opportunities and challenges in mountain national parks and their surrounding areas in Alberta and British Columbia. Visiting park managers and other stakeholders from Waterton National Park on the Canada-USA border to Banff and Yoho National Parks in the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the Pacific coast, as well as visits to research institutes and several First Nations communities – this study tour allowed participants to learn more about Canada’s experience in integration of national parks and local communities’ needs and interests, about protected area management and wildlife research, and also about community development including tourism.

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Xishuangbanna National Park, China
December 2008. Study tour to national parks in Yunnan and Sichuan provinces in southwest China, with special focus on Xishuangbanna – China’s first nature reserve. Participants from Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve learned about the value of establishing a solid research program with the aim to guide wildlife management decisions and long-range protected area planning, along with the role that can be played by responsible tourism with potential benefits in education as well as sustainable financing of people and parks.

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South Gobi Gurvan-Saikhan National Park, Mongolia
September 2008. A 10-day study tour to Mongolia, with the assistance of People Centred Conservation (PCC) Mongolia, a non-profit organization that supports innovative community-centred development initiatives. Topics included establishment of local community cooperatives, people-park relations, and the effects of rapid urbanization. A major outcome of this study tour was the subsequent development and launch of the Kegawa Herders Cooperative in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in 2010.

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