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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Making It Easy for Anyone to Be a Responsible Tourist in Asia

Student travel company GROUND Asia has created responsible traveller training modules and made them free for anyone interested in travelling responsibly.

The move means that not just students, teachers and faculty, but everyone, can learn how to do the right thing on sensitive issues such as single-use plastics, responsible photography, child safety, and giving donations when visiting Asia and beyond.

The initiative follows GROUND Asia’s transformative responsible training workshop for its staff in Mai Chau, Vietnam in March. The workshop was created to address challenges that kept arising during student trips to Asia.

“Following the workshop, best practices from four years of leading student groups in Asia were distilled into new practical guidelines, policies and procedures for all GROUND Asia trips,” says Lauren Groves, the GROUND Asia general manager.

The training manual that GROUND Asia now adheres to means that the company’s field operations are closely aligned to the values and aims of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

There’s no limit on who can use the new responsible traveller modules. The guidelines are being made available to everyone – students, teachers, faculty, host communities, education sector suppliers and tour operators. Even competitors to GROUND Asia can use them to train their own staff, guides and host communities.

“The aim is to provide thoughtful, practical and responsible guidelines that benefit everyone in travel, education and related fields,” says Groves.

The training is “concise, factual and informative,” she says. “We want to lead the conversation about issues, rather than simply dictate behaviour.”

Groves adds that responsible traveller values learned at an early age will give young people and the public at large the skills and perspectives to help them be responsible travellers for the rest of their lives.

GROUND Asia has made its new responsible tourist training guidelines available publicly in a series of presentations here.

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