WildChina > WildChina > Mei Zhang elected to TIES Advisory Board

At its recent biannual Board meeting, The Board of Directors of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) unanimously agreed to implement a new structure of TIES Board, with the new Advisory Board consisting of ecotourism experts and industry leaders, and the Governance Board, which focuses on administrative and managerial tasks related to the governance of the organization.

Within this new structure, the former Board of Directors voted in eleven new members to the Advisory Board: Deirdre Campbell (Owner, The Tartan Group), Richard Edwards (Director, Planeterra Foundation and Co-Chair, Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference), Shadia Garrison (Consultant, Writer, Project Manager), Palitha Gurusinghe (President, Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation), Ariane Janér (Co-Founder, EcoBrasil), Kimberly Lisagor (Journalist, Author), Rick MacLeod Farley (Principal Consultant, MacLeod Farley & Associates), Paul Radchenko (Tourism Development Planner, Government of Alberta, Canada), Albert Teo Chin Kion (Managing Director, Borneo Eco Tours), Annie Vanderwyk (Indigenous Business, Education & Research Partner, Youth Connections, and Principal Cultural Consultant, Wild Earth Expeditions), Mei Zhang (Founder, WildChina).

Full list of current Advisory Board members and their bios can be found on the TIES Advisory Board page.

International Ecotourism Society

WildChina recently interviewed Ayako Ezaki, TIES’ Director of Communications, on Mei’s new board position, Advisory Board projects, and what the board hopes to accomplish in the future.

WildChina Travel (WCT): Why did TIES feel that Mei was a good choice for the Advisory Board?
Ayako Ezaki (AE): One of the areas where TIES would like to become more actively engaged is ecotourism and sustainable tourism in the Asia Pacific region. We have a number of Association, Business, NGO as well as individual members based in the region, and over the years various initiatives have been taking place (for example, the Asia Pacific Ecotourism Network [APES]). With new Advisory Board members who are actively involved in ecotourism networks in the region, we feel that we will have increased opportunities in the coming years for membership, education and communication outreach, events and partnership building.

In addition, we are particularly pleased to work with Mei due to her strong business background and industry expertise. As Mei has been actively engaged in ecotourism, adventure travel and sustainable tourism arenas for a number of years. Many on TIES team, including Dr. Kelly Bricker, TIES chair, have had the opportunity to learn about her various achievements directly and indirectly.

WCT: What kind of work do you plan to do with the board?
AE: We are seeking to set up sub-committees within the Advisory Board that may address general and ongoing needs (e.g. public awareness, partnership) or work on specific tasks related to certain projects or assignments. One of the first tasks, therefore, is to identify key areas that will become sub-committee focus areas, such as Asia Pacific (regional activities and partnership initiatives to reach out to existing organizations in the Asia Pacific region, such as the Asia Pacific Ecotourism Society, and to collaborate with potential new members) and Voluntourism (exploring opportunities to disseminate information and resources about voluntourism and to encourage greater traveler and industry engagement).

We also hope to work with Advisory Board members to implement several new projects, focusing on key topics and issues such as: ecotourism and indigenous communities, sustainable community development, and ecotourism and wildlife conservation.

Many of TIES Advisory Board members have played roles on the program/speaker committee for the annual Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC), and we hope to work with new Advisory Board members who are able to volunteer their time for the upcoming ESTC.

WCT: What does the board hope to accomplish in the next few years?
AE: The main goals of TIES Advisory Board are to support TIES mission and strengthen TIES initiatives by better representing our members’ needs and more effectively addressing current and emerging issues within the tourism industry. With a diverse group of global experts, we believe that TIES Advisory Board will be able to assist in positive development of the organization in terms of educational resources, community projects, and grassroots networking.

With new initiatives such as carbon offset options for clients, WildChina proud to join TIES in creating the future of sustainable tourism in China and beyond. See what Mei has to say about tourism in China, her role on the TIES Advisory Board, and questions she wants to answer about sustainable travel.


Photo credit: Traveling Greener

Read the entire TIES press release on new TIES Advisory Board members.

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