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Tony Wheeler, founder of Lonely Planet and world pioneer of experiential travel has joined the WildChina Explorer Grant judging panel for 2016.

(TRAVPR.COM) CHINA - 1st March, 2016 -‘We are thrilled to welcome Tony Wheeler to the panel,’ says Mei Zhang, WildChina Founder and CEO. ‘Each year we invite judges who exemplify the idea of mindful exploration promoted by the WildChina Explorer Grant. For us, Tony’s dedication to venturing beyond the boundaries of conventional travel makes him an authority in this area.’

Tony joins the panel alongside Zhang and Xi Zhinong, one of China’s first wildlife photographers. Xi was the first person to capture the endangered Yunnan snub-nosed monkey on film and as a regular contributor to National Geographic China, has since created a number of high profile documentaries. Also on the panel is COO of China’s no. 1 travel community website Jinghui Cai and 2014 WildChina Explorer Ricky Qi. Cai collaborated with Tony Wheeler to bring Lonely Planet to China and continues to make solo exploratory travel more accessible to Chinese travelers.

With over 5000 votes cast, the public have chosen the 5 finalists who will now be considered by the judges for the grant. Finalists’ projects include creating a star map of Yunnan Province, documenting the culinary traditions of China’s minority cultures, and attempting to establish new rock-climbing routes in China’s western regions. Each project aspires to make unprecedented findings within its field through exploration.

Previously, the WildChina Explorer Grant has helped support expeditions in search of rare lotus flowers in rugged Xinjiang and the filming of a documentary about China’s last matriarchal society in the far reaches of the Himalayas.

‘Every year we are so inspired by our applicants’ passion for exploration and their desire to dig deeper and travel further,’ says Zhang. ‘The quality of applications this year has astounded us and it brings me great pleasure to support this exciting next generation of explorers – though I am sure that choosing a winner is going to be a tough decision to make.’


About WildChina Travel

Established in 2000, WildChina is a luxury travel company specializing in authentic experiential travel. We offer bespoke journeys and expert-led small group tours that cater to the curious traveler and facilitate in-depth exploration of people and places. Our innovative style has been critically recognized through numerous awards including National Geographic Traveler "Tours of a Lifetime; Travel + Leisure “Best Life Changing Trips”; and Fast Company “50 Most Innovative Companies”. 

In 2011, we launched our outbound brand, Beshan Travel, bringing our award-winning travel style to Chinese. Trend-setters for experiential travel in the Chinese market, we have been featured by China's biggest travel and lifestyle magazines including Conde Nast, Harpers Bazaar, and Vogue. We have also been named one of China's top 12 luxury travel companies in 2015 by Hurun Report.

WildChina is widely recognized as a leader in luxury China travel. The Harvard Business Review named WildChina ‘a leader in its field’, and the many industry awards the company has received include:

·         FastCompany – 50 Most Innovative Companies (2014)

·         National Geographic Traveler – 50 Tours of a Lifetime (2012, 2013, 2014)

·         Travel & Leisure – Best Life-Changing Trips (2010)

·         National Geographic Adventure – Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth (2009)

·         Mei Zhang, Travel & Leisure A list agent (2009-2015)

·         Mei Zhang, Conde Nast Traveler Top travel expert (2010-2014).

For more information about WildChina Travel:


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Name: Emma Clifton
Company: WildChina Travel
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