By developing new sources of income through environmentally responsible tourism, communities can be encouraged to protect local natural resources at the same time that their incentive to over-exploit biodiversity is reduced. Efforts to educate visitors, tour agents, and tourism bureau officials in the importance of responsible tourism can also reduce environmental risks posed by increasing numbers of visitors, while demonstrating a model of sustainable tourism development that can be adopted and replicated by government.

TPAF is promoting innovative models of sustainable ecotourism development in three villages of Shangri'la. Activities in each village include community-led ecotourism development planning; environment protection training; ecotourism service skills training; and construction of visitor ecolodges that also function as community centers. Outcomes and lessons from these villages will be disseminated to tourism bureau officials and travel agents to encourage government and private sector support of a more sustainable model of tourism development that can be scaled up and replicated more widely.

Construction of ecolodges was completed in three villages, women's groups were established to manage community tourism activities, and villagers began hosting visitors with folk dance performances, nature treks, and horse riding services. Training for villagers began in range of skills and topics including tour guiding, housekeeping, cooking, bookkeeping, English language, environment protection and ecolodge management.

Two international tour operators specializing in ecotourism visited the three villages and confirmed that their natural tourism appeal is excellent, and began to help promote the sites. In addition, a group of 24 Tibetan university students studying tourism management visited two of the villages, where they received field training in good practices for community based ecotourism development.

Recent Achievements in 2010-2011 
Community Ecotourism