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Join this ‘virtual trek’ to Everest to raise money for tourism communities

The Planetarra Foundation has launched its first annual Trek Challenge to help raise money for communities around the world who usually rely on tourism dollars.

The foundation, which is G Adventures non-profit partner, is encouraging the travel industry to join a ‘virtual trek’ to Everest Base Camp to raise money and help rebuild community tourism around the world following the devastation of the global pandemic.

Planeterra’s founder, Bruce Poon Tip, who also founded G Adventures, has already built his own team and pledged to match donations from participating teams, and donors, up to $25,000.

This year’s trek places a spotlight on the work of Planeterra’s partners in South Asia, including Nepal, with the challenge being for participants to walk the 65 kilometres (85,000 steps) it takes to climb to Everest Base Camp.

The challenge takes place from 21 to 27 September 2020, with participants ‘reaching the top’ on World Tourism Day (27 September).

“The Planeterra Trek Challenge is an opportunity for us to come together virtually and create a sense of connection at a time where people are feeling distanced, not just from travel but from other countries and cultures,” said Poon Tip.

“Most of us are missing travelling and many are looking for a way to give back to the people and communities who have given us life-changing travel experiences in the past. I’m excited to invite our agency partners, suppliers and the wider tourism industry to join us in raising some much-needed funds.

“We also want to spotlight this iconic region for travel that is currently void of tourists. These communities need our help, so let’s get away from our home offices for a bit, maybe tackle a personal fitness challenge at the same time, and do what we can to make a difference.”

Planeterra’s network of community projects around the world was left without any source of income when global travel was suspended as a result of the current pandemic.

Local people and their communities need funds fast in order to rebuild and recover, and the Planeterra Foundation is encouraging travel agency partners, along with their friends and family, to join them in raising awareness and much-needed money.

Planeterra’s program and communications manager, Alanna Wallace, said the foundation has prepared a series of content and stories to highlight community tourism.

“This includes interviews with travellers who have summited Everest, interviews with community tourism leaders and cooking demonstrations. Anyone who loves travel is going to want to get involved,” Wallace said.

Donations collected will provide kick-starter funding for communities around the world that need to invest in new health and safety measures, contribute to training for safe reopening, and help to ensure communities remain resilient and safe for years to come.

To join the Planeterra Trek Challenge, click here.

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