The Ginkgo Society, Yunnan, China

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SOST: What activities do you encourage that provide ownership opportunities for local families?

Chris Barclay: We have opened our first homestay, the Li Family Courtyard in which we offer dormitory-style accommodation with a local family and have trained them in hospitality services, so they can operate their courtyard home as a bed and breakfast when we don’t have groups there. Our goal is to replicate this among other families in the Shaxi Valley, to create a network of authentic homestay experiences for visitors.

SOST: What green-themed activities have been established, or are planned?

Chris Barclay: Ginkgo has initiated the Shaxi Temple Zipline Tour, which will allow tourists to visit UNESCO grottoes in the hills above Shaxi without driving the 7km between these mountain temples, significantly reducing traffic and environmental impact. This project is still in the approval process. We also offer horseback riding (Shaxi is the nexus of the ancient tea horse caravan road).

www.ginkgosociety.org

Pear Orchard Temple – courtyard before restoration

Pear Orchard Temple – courtyard before restoration

Pear Orchard Temple – courtyard after restoration

Pear Orchard Temple – courtyard after restoration

Old Theatre Inn – before renovation

Old Theatre Inn – before renovation

Old Theatre Inn – after renovation

Old Theatre Inn – after renovation

Old Theatre Inn – interior before renovation

Old Theatre Inn – interior before renovation

Old Theatre Inn – interior after renovation

Old Theatre Inn – interior after renovation