Being a part and parcel of modern day living, the number of leisure travellers is steadily on the rise. The United Nations World Tourism Organisations (UNWTO) reported a billion tourism and leisure arrivals in different worldwide destinations, and has projected global tourism arrivals exceeding 1.5 billion in a year by 2020.
Alternative Tourism is seen to be the kind of tourism that is respectful of nature and culture, and brings several beneficial outcomes, such as:
- Developing a sustainable tourism that protects and enhances the environment;
- Limiting the use of fossil fuels and conserving resources of the community;
- Protection of women and children;
- Protection of worker rights
- Enabling a true people to people interaction between visitors and the the visited, through greater understanding and respect for each other's socio-cultural realities;
- Enabling the visitor to appreciate, celebrate and respect traditional cultures, rituals and wisdom, while discovering local habitats and wildlife;
- Ensuring community ownership to protect and sustain their resources, collaborative decision making, and local capacity building;
- Economic benefits that reach the local people, thereby improving their quality of life.
Beneficiaries of Alternative Tourism
Adhering to the spirit of community-based tourism implemented within the values of the YMCA will lead to an Alternative Tourism that will benefit the “traveler / participant” as well as the “host / provider”.
For the traveller, GATN programs provide a safe, affordable and meaningful travel and tourism experience. It provides a unique and insightful look into another country or region and their culture, and serves as an avenue to appreciate local traditions and customs.
For the host, it provides an opportunity of empowerment, enabling them to structure and control the tourism experience in light of their understanding of what are the best aspects of their culture, region and environment that visitors should know and feel. This will ensure that the local community benefits both by the enhancement and protection of the local, natural and cultural heritage, as well as the strengthening of the local economy.
Furthermore, it assists the local YMCA to develop its local organisational, management and networking capacity, while helping make the YMCA movement more vibrant, responding to the call for global citizenship.