GATN Task Force and Managers meet on the 10th anniversary of GATN

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Last Updated (Tuesday, 01 November 2022 14:51)

Alternative Tourism promotes fair and just forms of travelling activities between members of different communities to achieve mutual understanding, solidarity and equality amongst the participants. It is a form of tourism that has a minimal negative impact on the physical and sociocultural environment in destination areas, and the local community substantially benefits from the tourism programme.

Unlike mass tourism, the main characteristics of the YMCA Alternative Tourism follow the “CHANGE” principles that seek to be Community centred, Holistic in approach, Advocating global citizenship, Nature conserving, Gender and child-sensitive, and Economically viable.

At the local YMCAs, Alternative Tourism has also been an effective programme for community organising, movement building, promoting community service and developing volunteerism. It is also an effective education tool for advocacy on important issues such as environmental protection, climate change, sustainable development, global citizen education, and human rights. And for many YMCAs, it is also an effective income generation programme.

After almost 3 years of strict travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, 16 members of the Task Force and GATN Managers were finally able to meet in person to review our past programmes and explore and strategize how best to bring this project further forward. The meeting was hosted by the YMCA of Chiangmai, Thailand, from 29 September to 2nd October 2022.

This year is also the 10th anniversary of GATN, and the theme for this gathering was “Stories from the past and Lessons for the future”. GATN managers evaluated our programs over the years and traced how our programs have evolved and progressed over the years. This was also an important time for us to plan for the future of GATN. Some of the topics discussed at the meeting include "Post COVID Challenges for Responsible and Sustainable Tourism" and "Challenge for GATN beyond YMCA".

By: Mr. Chan Beng Seng, APAY GATN Coordinator