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.
THE GATN Mission Statement
"The YMCAs of Asia and Pacific are committed to a sustainable alternative tourism that empowers youth to help restore the environment and ecology, uphold the local culture and heritage, and promote a better quality of life for the local community."
The Pillars of GATN
Learning and Sharing
Programmes in the YMCA Global Alternative Tourism will provide learning and sharing opportunities for the visitors and host community.
Care for the Present and the Future
Programmes in the GATN will care for the present and future through protection of the rights of the indigenous people, addressing the challenges of exploitation, Climate change, empowering youth and women, caring the elderly and promoting peace and harmony.
Each programs listed in the GATN are developed by the YMCAs by prioritizing different issues which are relevant in their context or which should be celebrated, considering the diversity of culture and environment. Special care has been made for the preservation of the environment, values, rights of the local people and local cultures.
Beneficial for Hosts and Travellers
Programmes in the GATN are taking place in communities, natural and cultural heritage sites and environments. YMCA recognizes Global alternative tourism as a tool to conserve and enhance local, natural and cultural heritage as well as strengthening the local economy. Emphasis are made for empowering the local communities to exercise control over the forms of tourism that they wish to see in their communities, while developing the programs for GATN.
All GATN programs provide safe, affordable, meaningful travel with community experiences for the participants and ensure quality services at reasonable cost.