In recent years, along with the continuous expansion in achievements of grassland protection in Tibet, grassland eco-tourism has also developed, gradually becoming another new highlight of tourism in Tibet.
Farmers and nomads open pastoral family happiness business
"Each day at 8 in the morning, we get out of bed and are busy with cleaning and arranging the tent. As soon as we receive phone call reservations from guests, we immediately start preparing the tent and food, ensuring that each guest is satisfied, has fun, and is comfortable.” The sky turns slightly pale, and Dawa Dorje’s family in Damzhung County has started to bustle about. In 2007, originally a nomad who traveled all over to support his family, Dawa Dorje grasped the opportunities in Tibet’s tourism brought along with the Qinghai-Tibet railroad. Drawing on experiences of several nomads from the mainland, he opened a business in his hometown based on his own pastoral family happiness. “Today there are more and more guests,” Dawa Dorje said. “Each month we make a net profit of more than 30,000 yuan.”
More than 7 billion yuan was invested into Tibet as part of the “Twelfth Five-Year Plan”, thereafter implementing an ecological safety net, a synthesized rural service center, and 16 other major construction projects. According to statistics, by 2015, the region’s had a total construction 43.1 million mu (1/15th of a hectare) of fenced grassland, 1.0684 million mu of artificial grassland, and grassland vegetation coverage reached 42.3 percent.
Characteristics of grassland tourism
"Nomadic culture includes not only ancient rock paintings, but one can also see many ancient ruins from the Shangshung Kingdom, stories and footprints of the Gesar Epic all over the north of Tibet, mani stone piles, prayer flags, and ancient stupas everywhere.
"In the mainland, all we see are skyscrapers, but here it’s all grassland, and the mood is different. Grassland tourism has both nomadic characteristics and grassland characteristics. Not only can one eat authentic lamb meat, ginseng, and other natural foods, but one can also get a taste of the unique Tibetan nomadic culture.
Promoting tourism that protects the grasslands
"The combination of history, folk customs, food, style, and culture is a major highlight of grassland tourism, allowing tourists to fully experience and get close to nature. Any farmer or nomad who becomes involved in the tourism service can increase their cash income from 2,500 to 3,000 yuan per year. With more environmental protection awareness, the face of farmers and nomads involved in tourism service is increasingly broad, the number of people is increasingly greater, and the incomes of those who engage in tourism service become increasingly higher.”
Grassland eco-tourism has made smooth progress in protecting the grasslands and broadened the channels by which farmers and nomads can make money. Some people have engaged in tourism transportation, horse costume rental, and local specialty product and souvenir sales. Last year, the per capita income for the region broke 10,000 yuan.