March 2020 changed travel for many forever, following the global pandemic of Covid-19 which stopped global travel in its tracks. Five months on, both the world and the travel and tourism industry, now more than ever, are not only thinking when we will travel again but where and why we travel.
Travel for many of us is not something we ever give much thought as to the ‘why’, but Covid-19, has made many of use rethink the reasons behind our adventures, as much as where we will be travelling to in the weeks, months and years ahead. For many of us avid travelers, we travel simply because, we have an insatiable desire to explore distant lands, where places and people are so different to our own, and to understand the world around us, experiencing new cultures and unique destinations. After months of being cooped up in our homes, without knowing how long the new normal will last, we have been given time, to reflect on whether travel will ever be as fun or as unique as it once was – and what we want from our next adventure.
Within the travel industry we are a community forever searching for that next idyllic island, the untouched tribe – a wanderlust to not just walk the path others have travelled, but create our own paths and trails, where we are the first to have provided unique enriching experiences for our guests. Experiences that not only bridge the gap between tourism, tourists and travelers, but enables us to create authentic connections with diverse communities we work with. In doing so, our team as much as our guests, create a greater understanding of the world around them – this is the foundation of Asian Oasis, a community tourism operator with a difference.
The experiences we design for our guests reflect our belief in learning from the world around us to make us all better people, but learning honestly about the good and the bad, the differences that make us question and think about ‘difference and diversity’ in the wider context long after our guests leave us.
Each of our experiences is unique, and goes back to our Founders desire to bridge the gap, that exists even to this day with many tour operators, who claim to be authentic or sustainable, or connected to local communities. Dig deeper below the surface, and you will find these sustainable programs, rely regular monetary input which is not very sustainable, and creates a cycle of reliance which sustainability aims to break, by equipping communities with training and development to become more empowered.
Lisu Lodge is a prime example of us practicing what we preach. Not only have we invested years of training and development to the Lisu hill tribe community we work with, we have developed business skills and equipped minority women so as to be able to set up their own small businesses making and selling handicrafts, using skills passed down to them through generations. Not only has this provided them skills and a sustainable income, they are able to be more independent and empowered to pass skills learnt down to future generations. This enables their families, to attend and pay for education, develop their businesses into new larger business opportunities and purchase homes and equipment for the first time in their lives, without gaining debt.
Asian Oasis has also recently, added new treks in our Chiang Rai Lodge community, which borders on amongst Hmong, Lahu and Karen hill tribe communities. Working with them closely, we have formed long standing relationships that have enabled us to train community members as tour and activity guides, sharing their culture and traditions with our team and guests.
We have expanded our international schools program in the same area, to create educational exchanges with local village schools, enabling young people to learn about unique tribal and village social structure, crafts, music and local beliefs, the villagers work with the school kids to prepare an incredible lunch out of ingredients and utensils foraged from the jungle, after a morning working to help build new parts to remote village schools.
Besides creating a memorable experience, the villagers benefit long term and are encouraged to preserve their traditions and promote education amongst younger members – something in the past which was not done.
With non-invasive local interactions like these, everybody comes away with something beneficial, but mostly a better understanding of each other and a feeling of making a difference, and a lot of broad smiles along the way. This for us is exactly what bridging the gap and developing community tourism is all about – sharing, learning and growing together despite difference – and we do it well.
Our Asian Oasis team, is always looking to redefine and develop social community tourism. By promoting this style of tourism, we dig far deeper into the human psyche long after guests have left us – so much of what we do has a positive impact, we have many repeat guests both domestically in Thailand and overseas, all wanting to come back and develop communities and friendships they have built.
If the new normal has created anything, it is a sense that we should travel with purpose and pay a greater attention to why we travel. So, when you feel you are ready to start exploring your ‘why’ again, contact us, we will be waiting to show you the way, in creating unique adventures that bring you closer to the countries you travel in and the people you meet