This week has been a somewhat inspiring one for me from a professional perspective. As I think I have mentioned in a previous blog, China often gets bad international publicity when it comes to their environmental decisions and practices. I am not saying that this publicity is unfounded nor unwarranted, but rather that ‘good news stories’ about China just seem to be lacking in the international arena.
This week, Changqing National Nature Reserve, the reserve that I am working for, held a training program for its field staff and also a small number of its office staff. The focus of the training was ‘Eco-tourism’, and it was supported financially by WWF. The training was one of the priority actions that came out of Changqing’s recent ‘Ecotourism Action Plan’, a plan that focuses upon what Changqing Administrative Bureau hope to achieve in the coming three to five years.
The training went for four days and included the following:
– First Aid training by Xi’an Red Cross Office Director Li Xiaodong. This focussed on common injuries that occur in the outdoors, such as a nature reserve.
– Xi’an CITS (China International Travel Agency) English Department Manager Yu Dahu shared insights about the tourism business in China.
– Xi’an International Studies University teacher Xin Jian discussed domestic tourist wants and needs.
– One of the Changqing Directors, Sun Ruiqian, spoke about his previous experience as head of ecotourism for Tai Bai Shan Reserve, another nature reserve in the Qinling Mountains with a longer history of tourism.
– The Ecotourism manager at Changqing, Shi Jian spoke about successful examples of tourism, which he has recently visited as part of our training program. Examples included Wuyi Shan, Fujian Province and various different locations in Yunnan Province including the Xishuangbanna region.
– One of our key ecotourism staff members, Zhang Yongwen, who grew up in Huayang passionately spoke about the local flora, fauna and history. This training was focussed on sharing his knowledge with other guides so that they can, in turn, tell tourists.
– Lastly, I spoke about management techniques for minimising the impact of tourism and tourism related construction to the environment. I focussed on the techniques that the USA, Canada and Australia are currently using.
From all accounts, it was a great success, with Changqing staff members speaking positively about what they had learnt. I personally thought it was really encouraging that the training was brought to Huayang, so that employees of all levels were able to attend. My brief experience of the hierarchal nature of many Chinese businesses indicates that this access to training is not always available to all levels of staff.