This summer I had the opportunity to travel to western China for a business development internship with Conscious Business Consulting (CBC) in Chengdu. Over a six week period I worked with CBC’s Tibetan staff and their partner investors to develop and organize an economically productive and culturally viable Airbnb-like homestay program in Tibet.
By accessing a larger global market though online resources and offering skill-based training in hospitality services to rural Tibetan hosts, our goal was to encourage a viable income source for Tibetan women and their families. Particular emphasis was placed on promoting and preserving Tibetan culture on a worldwide scale by making authentic Tibetan homes accessible to a larger global audience. In this way, the program was designed to market more than just a travel experience; the business instead seeks to market regional economic growth in a culturally productive way.
Following four weeks of intensive work on the project and many attempts to navigate the city (14 million people!) with some crazy Tibetan friends and coworkers, I was able to spend 2 weeks exploring eastern Tibet. On my journey through the ‘rooftop of the world’ I was able to stay with many of our homestay families, visit Tibetan monasteries and religious places, and hike around some of the highest peaks in the world. If you ever have the opportunity, I definitely recommend visiting Tibet-if not for the amazing people, breathtaking scenery and delicious food, at least you can say that you have tried their butter tea!