Miao Village in Leishan

Image source: Wildchina.com

WildChina is a sustainable travel company that brings travelers and volunteers to a wide variety of locations across the country. They are an ecologically sensitive operation, focused on sharing China’s unique culture and heritage, but they are also a model for-profit organization with a broad spectrum of opportunities for all sorts of travelers. They offer a unique combination: 100% customization, deep-seated networks of opportunities and programs, and commitment to education. WildChina is passionate about China and that passion is infused in all of their trips. Their overarching mission—to teach travelers and volunteers about the beauty, culture, and history of China—is served by their focus on individualized itineraries. Each traveler—vacationer, volunteer, or student—has a unique WildChina experience.

WildChina advertises trips for families, educational groups, volunteers, and corporate travelers. Their network of partners is extensive, as is their experience in the travel planning and tourism industry. They have also won several travel and eco-tourism awards: they made the Travel and Leisure Trips of a Lifetime in 2010, and were included in National Geographic’s Best Adventure Travel Companies On Earth list in 2009. I think these awards reflect WildChina’s dedication to authenticity. They want to show each traveler the real behind-the-scenes China—the country most tourists never get to see.

Cormorant Fisherman in China

Image source: Guardian.co.uk

Some of WildChina’s pioneering custom projects include: tracing the Yellow River across China for a natural history museum interested in studying China’s ongoing environmental changes; building roads and constructing eco-friendly, waterless toilets in remote areas of Guizhou and Sichuan for International Baccalaureate service-learning projects; attending the Yushu Horse Festival on the Tibetan Plateau and creating a luxury campsite with Tibetan-style solar-powered tents; and hosting a private street carnival in the old district of Chengdu for a corporate client. These complex planning-heavy projects reflect WildChina’s intensely personal touch.

Giant Panda

Image source: Guardian.co.uk

WildChina offers something other organizations don’t: the chance to do exactly what you want. The prices reflect this level of customization and for good reason. Expert logistics planners create itineraries personally. They work with local organizations and individuals to curate the perfect experience. This sort of high-end eco-friendly voluntourism isn’t something I’ve seen much of, and it’s a great niche for emerging organizations. It takes a lot of leg-work to develop the relationships necessary for this kind of individualization, but if you want to cater to the luxury travel market, following WildChina’s lead is a good way to start.

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