Some Tibetan villages in Shenzha county, Tibet were chosen as typical Tibetan communities in China. Attitudes and perceptions towards Tibetan community participation in ecotourism were analyzed using face to face interviews. Most residents supported the development of ecotourism. They are willing to engage in ecotourism projects and accept ecotourism education and training, and expect that the government provides opportunities for them to participate in making ecotourism decisions. Most residents believed that ecotourism promotes local economies and social development, and enhances the ability and quality of local residents while improving their environmental consciousness. However, some residents were concerned that ecotourism may destroy local natural environments and Tibetan folk customs and culture. The level of community participation in ecotourism development is only in its infancy in Shenzha, but there is strong potential. The chief participatory approaches of ecotourism development for most residents were providing labor and catering services and commodities for tourism, and Tibetan performance singing and dancing. Limiting factors include language, a shortage of knowledge and skills, and poor ecotourism infrastructure. Most residents had little confidence that the government was willing to support them to participate in ecotourism. We put forward some mechanisms to enhance the level of community participation in ecotourism in this important region.
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Vol. 3 • No. 1