Asian Encounters

Main Country of Operation: Based in Hong Kong but serving Asia
Other Countries of Operation: Asia
Contact: Roger Harris;
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Asian Encounters is a social enterprise based on a social network. Our objective is to promote pro-poor Community Based Tourism (CBT) through social networking between and among travellers in Asia and the villagers they wish to meet with. We call this e-CBT. Community Based Tourism is a form of tourism that is operated by the community itself, rather than by outside interests. It is sometimes called village tourism, rural tourism or homestay. Its purpose is to create income-generating opportunities for poor people in Asia, mostly women. CBT provides travellers with authentic encounters with lifestyles and cultures that are probably very different from their own. By staying in a village, as a guest of one of the residents, visitors experience the culture and daily lifestyle of their hosts; participating in their daily activities or enjoying the activities that the villagers have made available for them. Each location is unique and it provides experiences that cannot be obtained in packaged tours. Think of it as fair trade in tourism because CBT provides a larger proportion of tourism revenues to the residents of the destination than any other form of tourism. As all CBT initiatives struggle with marketing their products, Asian Encounters provides a clustered marketplace for micro-enterprises to share technology and global branding at very low cost (zero to them), which is important for reaching out to their customers, who shun mass-market channels and are generally heavy internet users.