Ecotourism in Northwest Yunnan  



Northwest Yunnan
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Codes of Conduct

Codes of conduct are critical to controlling the impact of tourism on nature and cultural resources.  The Northwest Yunnan Ecotourism Association is establishing codes of conduct for any tourists visiting the area, as well as tour operators who operate in environmentally fragile areas.  

For Ecotourists
For Tour Operators

Ecotourist Codes of Conduct

The Lashihai Watershed has been designated as a provincial-level nature reserve to protect the fragile ecosystems and wildlife of the area.  Because of the fragility and importance of this Nature Reserve, all visitors are asked to follow this Code of Conduct so to ensure that the area’s biodiversity and cultural heritage is protected effectively.  

Environmental Conservation

  • Tour groups visiting the nature reserve should not be over 10 people per group and should always be accompanied by a local guide.

  • When you are in the Nature Reserve, please follow the regulations and laws of the Reserve:
  • - Do not throw trash on the ground;

    - Do not take any “souvenirs” or specimens from the wild;

    - Put all trash in the designated places;

    - Do not cut or dig up trees or bushes;

    - Do not start any fires within the Nature Reserve.


  • If you are a visitor coming to do research, training, or filming, please get permission from the Nature Reserve staff.

  • Please respect our wildlife friends and do not disturb them and their habitat. Please turn off the engine of your vehicle when you are in the Nature Reserve.
  • You can buy local products to help improve the lives of local people, but please do not buy endangered wildlife products such as fur, feathers, and leather.
  • When you are watching the birds, please do not wear bright clothing, make loud noises or frighten or feed the birds. Please do not come within 100 meters of the birds.

Cultural Conservation

  • Respect the local people and their customs and religion. Do not touch things before you get permission, and do not be loud and disrespectful in the village.

  • Ask permission before you take pictures in the villages, especially when you take pictures of people.

  • Respect holy and sacred places and do not touch or move religious objects.

  • Giving to children only encourages begging. A donation to our Conservation and Community Development Fund is a more constructive way to help.

  • Visitors who value local traditions encourage the local pride and maintain local cultures, so please show an interest in their culture and an interest in understanding their traditions. 


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Tour Operator Codes of Conduct

The following Tour Operator Codes of Conduct have been developed by the Northwest Yunnan Ecotourism Association. These Codes of Conduct provide guidelines for all tour operators operating in environmentally-sensitive areas of Northwest Yunnan, and are criteria used by the Northwest Yunnan Ecotourism Association in selecting specific tour operator partners.

  • Partners with Community-based Ecotourism Enterprises: Supports community-based ecotourism enterprises in developing a sustainable business that contributes to conservation and community development. Subcontracts from small, community-based enterprises wherever possible and assists them in achieving the appropriate quality standards.

    Where no community-based company is available, the tour operator directly employs people living in the areas being visited. Local community members may be employed to deliver all services to clients, including administration, guiding, transportation, meals, lodging and supplies.
  • Purchases Supplies from Local Community: Creates additional benefits to the local community by purchasing as many products and services as possible from the community being visited. However, if the purchase of local products creates an unsustainable drain or impact on the local community’s cultural or natural resources, then the operator will bring necessary goods from the nearest community outside of the protected area.
  • Supports Conservation and Community Development Financing:  Contributes a proportion of net profits to community conservation and development funds, and/or makes a direct financial donation to the communities being visited.  Follows protected area guidelines for entrance fees and concession permits and encourages customers to make contributions to support conservation and community development projects. 
  • Supports Authentic Cultural Exchanges and Respects Cultural Heritage:  Is aware of actual and potential impacts of tourism on cultural heritage and attempts to minimize these impacts through its own policies and practices.  Exchanges with and exposure to traditional cultures should occur only in an authentic setting and with willing participants.  Except in unique situations, “staged” performances by local villagers are not supported. 
  • Monitors and Reduces Impacts on Natural Resources:  Is aware of actual and potential impacts of tourism on natural resources and attempts to minimize these impacts through its own policies and practices, including: 

    - Disposing of waste and sewage properly using “best practices” available for each area (recycling, composting, etc.).

    - Reducing natural resource consumption created by tourists through use of renewable energy and/or fuel efficient motors.

    - Ensuring any use of local products or services for the purpose of tourism does not put an additional strain on the natural resources in the area.

  • Promotes Responsible Visitor Behavior:  Educates travelers before and during the trip on low impact travel and conservation compatible practices (including ecological and cultural sensitivity). Travelers practice low impact travel and conservation compatible practices while traveling, including the guidelines listed here, and operator will address an incompatible behaviors as they occur.

    The operator will address any complaints or concerns raised by the local community about the behavior of visitors.
  • Adheres to Local Protected Area Tourism Guidelines and Policies:  Abides by all conservation rules and regulations established by any local, regional or national protected area management organizations or authorities.  Advocates conservation and sustainable tourism by demonstrating exemplary behavior above and beyond any rules and regulations.
  • Monitors Impacts:  Is aware of and in compliance with the carrying capacity or visitor restrictions of a visited area. The operator keeps the number and behavior of tours/travelers compatible with the fragility of visited environments and works with protected area managers, the Association’s partners and/or other local NGOs to implement impact monitoring plans when possible.  The operator will self-monitor and reduce the number of tourists brought to an area if it sees there is a negative impact from tourism on the area’s natural or cultural resources.
  • Contributes to Truthful Marketing of Ecotourism:  Partners with the Northwest Yunnan Ecotourism Association, local communities, government partners and other NGOs to help market community-based ecotourism enterprises.  Includes these enterprises in its brochures and itineraries, and clearly explains the difference between ecotourism and nature-based tourism to potential customers.



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This web site is a project of the Northwest Yunnan Ecotourism Association and has been developed to introduce you to unique ecotourism opportunities around Lijiang and beyond. By developing and promoting ecotourism in Northwest Yunnan, our goal is to support environmental protection, preserve the areas’ diverse cultural heritage and contribute to community development.  Read more about this project.

Copyright © 2002 Northwest Yunnan Ecotourism Association