The Global Alternative Tourism Network is an initiative of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs. It is a network of different YMCAs that conducts and promotes alternative tourism.
Developing the Global Alternative Tourism Network
The ethos of YMCA has focused on the holistic development of people. It has led to programmes with objectives of sustainable lifestyles, economic development of marginal communities, and preservation of environment and ecology. Sustainable tourism was seen as a means to implement such outcomes in a unique, interesting, and integrated way. To develop and ground this concept amongst YMCA leaders, APAY organised a series of workshops that have helped develop the Global Alternative Tourism Network. These events were:
- The Consultation on YMCA Global Alternative Tourism Network, Chiangmai, Thailand (27-30, June 2009).
- Workshop on Pilgrimage in Search of Truth, Kathmandu, Nepal (February 19-25, 2011).
- International Forum on Alternative Tourism, Phnom Penh, Cambodia (24-30 November 2011).
- Global Alternative Tourism Network Planning Workshop, Bangkok, Thailand (31 Aug - 2 Sept, 2012).
Beginning with the Chiang Mai gathering, and working through follow up meetings, the framework for GATN was established. This was expressed in the word C H A N G E, which was also an acronym and suggested a model. A meaningful leisure/travel experience conducted within the spirit of CHANGE provides a platform for respecting values of human dignity and global solidarity between host and the traveler. APAY also believes that such a transformed tourism can proactively pave the way for ethical human encounters and solidarity for the transformation of the visitor and the community.