Our Story

Planeterra is the leading community tourism organization working to reduce poverty around the world.

Established in 2003 by entrepreneur, author and philanthropist Bruce Poon Tip, Planeterra is a non-profit organization that has contributed millions of dollars towards projects in areas of social enterprise, healthcare, conservation, and emergency response.

The Planeterra Foundation is registered under Canada’s Not-for- Profit Organization Act and 501(c)3  in the United States.

About Us

Planeterra is the world’s leading NGO turning travel into impact in communities. We’re experienced agents of change, with confidence boosted by our 100% success rate. Our market-driven, traveller-centric model and its ripple effects ensure more money stays in the hands of local people. Put simply, it is a better kind of tourism – improving the lives of community members as they provide the traveller with better experiences. When travellers win and communities win so do travel companies and destination governments.

Our Model

Between 2015 and 2019, Planeterra helped funnel over US$10 million into local communities through integrating 85 community tourism enterprises into the itineraries of three tour company partners. We learned that the biggest hurdles to the success of community tourism enterprises is a lack of tools, resources, experience and market access. We launched the Global Community tourism Network in 2020 to break down those barriers and give our partners practical training at their fingertips, market access, and assistance to all communities who want it. 

As a result, hundreds of community tourism enterprises receive support from Planeterra’s global team, but more importantly, they receive help from each other as they share good practices, stories, and hope. 

Our first 85 partners proved that our model works and benefits communities. Now, we are impacting thousands more by creating a movement that puts communities at the centre of tourism’s efforts to build back better after the pandemic. 

The Ripple Effects

By supporting an ever-growing network of community tourism enterprises around the world, Planeterra ensures tourism dollars are increasingly remaining in the hands of local people. As a result, economic opportunities are created, places are protected, and cultures are celebrated through travel.

Women Leading Communities

Empowering women to participate in social enterprise development helps to build their self-esteem, and give them a chance to take on leadership roles in the community.

Reduced Urban Migration

Youth in remote communities often leave their families to find jobs in larger cities, but tourism can provide opportunities that lets them build their futures in their home communities.

Education

Providing financial stability to parents allows them to invest in their childern’s education, and allows youth in some communities to be the first generation to attend higher education.

Environmental Preservation

Travellers want to see the best of a region’s landscape. Capacity training helps provide tools for communities to practice improved land stewardship and protection of natural resources.

Cultural Celebration

Tourism experiences that include opportunities to learn about indigenous traditions can be influential in keeping cultural practices alive through knowledge sharing among community members.

Health & Sanitation

Bringing a steady stream of travellers into a community requires development of a clean water supply and infrastructure for sanitation and hygiene, which also provides benefits to local residents.