Training Workshops: Since 2008, TVP has been organizing at least one training workshop per year that is attended by about 30 participants who have a direct involvement in the tourism industry, such as tour guides, community educators, and NGO workers. While providing praticial skills training, the workshop fundamentally attempted to address three key issues: (1) what are the key challenges and opportunities of mass tourism, (2) how can concepts and practices of ecotourism be best applied to community-based tourism discussions and developments, and (3) what are some eco-friendly projects that can boost local economies.
Exchange Visits: TVP organized three exchange visits to USA: first one in June 2010 with four Tibetans, second group in June 2011 with six Tibetans for three weeks and third with three people for four weeks in February 2012. They have visited New York, Washington, DC, Colorado and other venues and participated in discussions, meetings, presentations and a short course at Columbia University in New York and Leave No Trace in Boulder. In addition, they have met with ecotourism experts and NGOs that focus on responsible tourism.The purpose of the training is to improve understanding, marketing and training about forms of sustainable tourism that benefit local environment and culture.
Educational Materials: Over the years, TVP has developed practical training materials that covers all forms of sustainable tourism: ecotourism, responsible tourism, community based tourism, and volun-tourism and specific skills training for tour guides, hosts such as local guesthouse owners, and tour operators in area of marketing, costumer service and first aid, etc. In addition, we have developed guidelines and code of conducts to educate both western and Chinese tourists. These materials are now used by tourism service providers such as hotels and travel agencies and educators such as universities and Lonely Planet (see Lonely Planet Tibet Guidebook, 2011). Many of our PowerPoint Presentations, case studies and brochures are now available in English, Tibetan and Chinese to share with others that are interested doing similar work.
Awareness Training: Among other issues, rubbish such as bottles, cans, plastic and cardboard, etc. that is discarded by tourists and local people is everywhere. This causes many problems: (1) contaminated drinking water, (2) children (cuts and wounds from broken glasses), (3) killing animals from eating rubbish, and (4) littering the environment. There is no designated waste bin and recycle bin. Till recently, Tibet did not have bottles and plastics, and people simply do not understand the full impact of litter as we do in the West. Thus, TVP has organized awareness trainings in about 10 communities in central Tibet and Kham.
Site Clean-up: The local village leaders have mobilized at least one family member from each household to pick up rubbish in common areas. Trashes are sorted and disposed properly. Once a month or whenever the bin is full, none-biodegradable waste is either buried or burned, as there is no garbage pick-up service. The burning trash is not recommended but there are no other viable alternative options.