GATN Basic Training in Luang Prabang

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Last Updated (Friday, 10 November 2017 16:18)

The YMCA of Luang Prabang hosted the eighteen (18) participants from Chiang Mai YMCA, YMCA of Kuala Lumpur, and Taichung YMCA who joined the National Training Workshop led by Chan Beng Seng as Trainer / Resource Person.


This is a program of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY) and the Global Alternative Tourism Network (GATN) held on 5-10 October 2017. It is an essential training platform for local YMCAs who are interested in developing, hosting and eventually sustaining their role as contributors in the alternative tourism industry. The training is devised by the APAY to deliver integrating parallels and strengthen local YMCA programmes while sustainably recapturing the income generation capacity and concentration of scaling community impact within the local YMCA.


The training started with a visit to two sample GATN sites- Ban Nayangtai which is known for its rare exquisite tapestries and cloth products made of silk cotton threads from rainforest cotton trees, and Ban Chan, a traditional tight-knit pottery village where participants learned not only about the process of making traditional pottery but also taking part in creation process itself, on traditional kick wheels.


During the training, participants were provided highly valued in-depth knowledge, best practices, case studies, productive arguments, beneficial statistics and expert opinions that were disseminated through both outdoor and indoor sessions. GATN Coordinator, Beng Seng introduced the participants on the new philosophies of Alternative and Responsible Tourism. In return, participants learned in full detail the root obligation of C.H.A.N.G.E (Community centered, Holistic approach, Advocating global citizenship, Nature and heritage conserving, Gender and child sensitive; and Economically viable) which thrives on accountability and stewardship.



The training also provided insights on the following issues:

• How dire implications of uncontrollable and irresponsible Tourism in some nations has caused not only manipulation against hosts, sites, vendors and local culture but also on how it augments harmful impact throughout outlier industries and sectors secondary to it.

• How to identify a more accurate disposition of Alternative and Responsible Tourism by designing local YMCAs GATN Programmes that fine-tunes focus on prioritizing community objectives and strengthening on social community impact while designing a more sustainable long-term methodology on making a profit for each GATN program.

• How from the case studies of Taichung YMCA as a Sending GATN and Chiang Mai YMCA as a Receiving GATN on the specific and specialized roles of both ends, to better flourish through community based tourism with greater attention on systematically designed stages of progress in parallel with the community objectives of the GATN Programme by first instilling greater emphasis on Thematic Learning, Service Learning and Work Camps.

• How to identify the moral spectrum of ethically promoting GATN Programmes with socially mindful non-profit marketing strategies so it will resonate deeply to suitable potential participants and sustain a more dynamic branding image for the local YMCAs involved.


The generous and homely hospitality provided by the YMCA of Luang Prabang was warm and fun that every participant became fast friends, eventually sharing contact details with vows to come again. Luang Prabang has, during the GATN Training became a town that not only provided a profound contrast to most of the participants’ daily lives but gave them an opportunity to slow down their pace for a weekend to focus on what matters first in GATN Programmes- impact through CHANGE.

Genevieve Liza Menggu, YMCA of Kuala Lumpur

Participants of the GATN Basic Training in Luang Prabang.
Tidarat Penvijit discussing the service learning program of Chiangmai YMCA. A welcome ceremony held in one of the villages in Luang Prabang for the participant’s visit.