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Eco-tourism is an Intimate Friendship in Peaceful Southcentral China
Lily and Field of Flowers
A friend of mine read a New York Sunday Times Travel section article about an eco-lodge in the Yunnan Province of China. As he made arrangements to vacation there, the lodge connected him with a local guide: Zhang Wenqiong (last name, first name). For English-speakers who have difficulty twisting their tongue around her name, she also goes by Lily Zhang. She is a native of the area and speaks English, Mandarin Chinese, and Naxi (her ethnic group’s language.) Lily was and is available to take individuals and small groups on customized tours of the natural wonders of the area and to have genuine interaction with some of the cultural groups. Although she started as a guide for the lodge, she now owns her own ecotourism company.
Travel Guides for China
A Quiet Part of China
One might ask, Where is Yunnan province? It is in south central China on the border, somewhat like a little appendix dipping down. It is adjacent to the borders of Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam. Also, it is close to Tibet.
The capitol of Yunnan province is the town of Lijiang. For English speakers, this is pronounced LEE- zyee - ang. Lily was raised here AND attended college here. Some of the exciting features of this part of the world are breathtaking, unspoiled scenery, a national commitment to sustaining the land and such valuable cultural achievements in the Old Town that in 1997 it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/180 accessed in September 2011 proclaims: "The Old Town of Lijiang, which adapted itself harmoniously to the uneven topography of this key commercial and strategic site, has retained an historic townscape of high quality and authenticity. Its architecture is noteworthy for the blending of elements from several cultures that have come together over many centuries. Lijiang also possesses an ancient water-supply system of great complexity and ingenuity that is still functioning effectively."
Add to this background:
Lily, a bubbly, intellectually curious woman who loves biking, bird watching, and meeting people from all over the world. Her unique gift in the travel tourism world is her sharing of the cultures that nurtured her and which are minorities in the immense Peoples Republic of China. A regular option for persons hiring her company is to take a meal with members of Lily's own extended family or another villager's. This is the inside track!
Mingle with Native Citizens of Yunnan Province
Lily is the Manager and a working guide at Lijiang Lashihai Xintuo Ecotourism Company. She studied Tourism Management at Yunnan National University at the Lijiang campus. In her own words on LinkdIn and other networking sites, she describes herself:
"I am a Naxi woman who grew up in a small village in the mountains with very nice views of mountains, fields, and local people who still keep their traditional life, customs, and culture...
"I have been working for ecotourism for 8 years, I had very good experience with this special work. I am enjoying meeting local people and all of our customers from all around the world!
"When I do my work, I have a such good chance to be with local people, friends, showing our customers all the wonderful things in my hometown, also help them to become communities with each other!"
(The Naxi (for English speakers, this is pronounced NOSH - ee) are one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China.)
Lijiang Lashihai Xintuo Ecotourism Company
Cell: 86 0 139 8882 6672
Tel/Fax: 86 0888-5106226
I think the most telling evidence of quality is that many tourists return to Lijiang and use Lily and her company again. She keeps current with the various English social network media and she was able to come to the United States in 2011 for a Sustainable Eco-Tourism Conference. Check out the contact links above and start saving your money for the vacation of a lifetime!
Leading a Tour
Text copyright 2011 Maren E Morgan.