G Adventure’s not-for-profit partner, Planeterra, has launched a new global network seeking to change the face of travel by putting local communities front and centre.
The Global Community Tourism Network will connect communities to travel businesses that can help them build back better after the pandemic.
The network has pulled together a network of more than 200 community tourism enterprises from 68 countries to share experiences and lessons learned through three main resources: a virtual community to share ideas and contacts, the promotion and marketing that comes with Planeterra’s global presence and connection to the travel industry, and an online learning hub.
According to Planeterra’s president, Jamie Sweeting, training and support is often the biggest barrier for community tourism enterprises, and women, BIPOC communities and communities in rural areas, in particular, lack the access they need to grow their businesses.
“Planeterra is breaking down these barriers so communities can access more revenue from travellers to achieve their community goals, be it women’s empowerment, cultural celebration, environmental conservation, improving access to healthcare and education, or building self-esteem and pride,” he said.
“Bringing communities together to support one another and collectively shape the future of community tourism is creating hope at a time when it’s needed most.”
Between 2015 and 2019, Planeterra helped drive more than $10 million of tourism revenue to communities.
Through the Global Community Tourism Network and strategic partnerships with international organisations including Friends-International, Komu Travel, and Trade + Impact, Planeterra seeks to reach even more communities.
The non-profit has also partnered with a number of national community tourism associations in countries such as Uganda, Bolivia, and Nepal.
Sweeting is calling on travellers, governments and, most of all, travel companies and the travel industry, to partner with Planeterra and join in the movement to build tourism back with community benefits in mind.
“We strongly believe that community tourism is the most effective way for the travel industry to positively impact host communities, and with our model, we can change millions of lives in the next few years,” he said.
“We can’t do this alone. In order to succeed, the travel industry needs more travellers, travel companies and governments to join Planeterra and put communities at the heart of tourism’s recovery.
“This will ensure local people benefit from travel as it emerges post-COVID.”