As the sun will soon set on 2018, it’s a good time to review the results of the community-based wildlife watching tourism project in the Valley of the Cats.
I am delighted to announce that, in 2018, 61 groups of visitors stayed in the Valley of the Cats as part of the community-based wildlife tourism project (with the last visitors of 2018 arriving today!). These trips have generated revenue of CNY 432,400 (almost GBP 50,000) for the community. That’s just under CNY 20,000 (GBP 2,200) of benefit for each of the 22 families involved in the project. At the same time, many visitors have enjoyed the trip of a lifetime, including special encounters with some of the resident wildlife such as Snow Leopard, Common Leopard, Wolf, Asian Brown Bear, Lynx, Tibetan and Red Fox and much more.
One of the year’s more high-profile visitors was Professor Per Alström. His 30+ year quest to record Snow Leopard on camera was finally rewarded in the Valley of the Cats with the video below.
We’ve received some excellent – and importantly, honest – feedback from visitors to the Valley this year and from the host families. This feedback will be instrumental in guiding a meeting with the local community in January to review progress and discuss plans for 2019.
We can expect a few minor changes to the way the project operates, based on the experience of 2018, but we will ensure the project retains its strong sense of authenticity.
On behalf of the local community, I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has supported the project in 2018 either by visiting or helping to promote the Valley of the Cats and, if you haven’t yet visited, please take a look at the website and consider a trip in 2019!