It’s that time of year again – a moment we’ve all eagerly anticipated! Planeterra is excited to announce the launch of the Wish List.
The Wish List is Planeterra’s annual year-end fundraising campaign. It serves a dual purpose, helping us establish a stable funding base that supports our vital work while raising awareness about our mission and the profound impact of community tourism.
This year, the campaign runs from #GivingTuesday, starting November 28, and officially ends on December 31, 2023.
Why Giving Tuesday Matters to Us
Giving Tuesday is a global day of generosity, offering people worldwide the opportunity to use their individual influence for positive change through acts of kindness and contributions to meaningful causes.
As a nonprofit, Giving Tuesday holds special significance for us. It is a day when we can harness the power of generosity to share our story, engage passionate supporters, and cultivate an active community that believes in our mission.
That said, this celebration of generosity also marks the ideal moment to launch our year-end campaign, the Wish List.
The Wish List 2023
This holiday season, we only have one wish, and it’s simple, yet incredibly powerful:
✨We want to strengthen community tourism around the world, so that economic opportunities are created, places are protected, and cultures are celebrated through travel✨
This year, we’ve set the bar high! We aim to raise a minimum of US$50,000. However, we can’t achieve this alone. We need your help to break down barriers and partner with underserved communities with the tools that they need to create sustainable livelihoods for generations to come.
How do we do that, you ask? Get ready because we’re about to take you on an exciting journey, delving deep into our methodology to uplift communities through tourism.
PHASE 1: EMPOWER
Planeterra empowers community tourism enterprises led by women, youth, Indigenous and rural communities through several ways, including:
- Providing access to practical educational resources
- Establishing a network of peer-to-peer support and knowledge-sharing
- Facilitating access to experts in areas ranging from business development to environmental protection to child welfare
Our Global Community Tourism Network (GCTN) is the key to providing these tools and resources.
With over 500 members worldwide, GCTN participants gain access to a Learning Hub filled with resources about community tourism, insights on creating a thriving business in the industry, monthly webinars, and active community hours that foster connections and networking.
And, did we mention our Learning Hub and monthly interactions are available in both English and Spanish?
This enables us to support communities from different corners of the world, with plans to expand to other languages.
Now, let’s hear directly from some GCTN members about how being part of the network impacts them:
How does Planeterra empower community tourism enterprises?
Here are a few examples of how GCTN members leverage the resources and opportunities provided by the network:
Asociación de Conservación Oso Dorado Hierba Buena Allpayacu, based in Peru, plays a pivotal role in safeguarding a protected area near their community, actively contributing to the preservation of two endangered species. Led by a courageous young woman, the association shared insights into their projects and accomplishments during an engaging GCTN webinar, demonstrating a commitment to knowledge exchange and continuous learning.
Asociación de Conservación Oso Dorado Hierba Buena Allpayacu stands as a shining example of female leadership and environmental protection. We look forward to continuing to empower more projects like theirs.
Penggerak Pariwisata Pajokka Balocci, situated in the South Sulawesi Province, Indonesia, empowers local youth to operate exciting river tubing adventures. Their dedication to continuous improvement and learning is evident through active participation in GCTN community hours, attendance at webinars, and utilization of GCTN resources to enrich and strengthen their existing tourism offerings.
Beyond their current endeavors, they aim to invest in more responsible community tourism and management training, equipping their team with the knowledge and skills for exceptional experiences and effective tourism management.
The Muhabura Cultural Experience and Craft Centre, nestled in Western Uganda near the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, operates as a social enterprise dedicated to uplifting local artisans.
Their two-fold mission involves empowering and educating women artisans while training the youth to become skilled local guides.
Rukundo, a dedicated member actively engaged in GCTN community hours and webinars, brings newfound knowledge back to the Centre, fueling its continuous growth.
Through collaboration with the GCTN, women and youth have transformed their lives, generating income by hosting travelers and creating a ripple effect of employment opportunities, increased capacity, and a significant enhancement in their livelihoods.
This positive transformation has contributed to a tangible reduction in poaching, gorilla trafficking, and tree cutting, and a heightened focus on the protection of the national park.
PHASE 2: SUPPORT
Planeterra supports our community partners through kickstart grants, mentorship, and training. This includes:
- Capacity building through 1:1 mentorship
- Small group learnings
- In-person Workshops
- Seed grants
One of the ways we do this is through the Global Community Tourism Fund (GCTF).
How does Planeterra support community tourism enterprises?
Meet some of the recipients from the 2023 GCTF:
Centro de Turismo Comunitario La Moya, in Ecuador, is a dedicated community organization involved in tourism for years, recognizing the importance of continuous improvement.
Their recent project involved repairing and enhancing their kitchen area adversely affected by humidity.
Thanks to a GCTF grant, they addressed this issue, enabling better service and paving the way for expanding their space to welcome more visitors.
Asociación de Artesanas de Chorrera is a Colombian organization formed by skilled weavers and artisans, who created the “Tejiendo Ilusiones” (weaving illusions) experience to celebrate their traditions and crafts.
Despite an impressive heritage, they faced challenges due to a lack of effective market connectivity.
With the GCTF, they are creating a website and promotional materials to reach new markets, ensuring their remarkable cultural heritage and crafts receive the recognition they deserve.
The Odisha Ecotourism Foundation, based in India, is deeply committed to community development and conservation through tourism.
As a GCTF recipient, they are training 10 local youths to become nature guides, exemplifying dedication to community tourism development and conservation.
They have also utilized the Learning Hub to conduct skill training workshops, empowering Indigenous youth with essential knowledge and skills for community tourism.
Sharing Seeds, located in Nepal, pursues a diverse and impactful mission. They actively support local farmers in cultivating Organic Arabica Coffee, promote beekeeping, and create new opportunities for local women in Pandeli village to craft recyclable goods from hemp fabrics. These initiatives have not only empowered the community but have also significantly enriched their lives.
As a recipient of the GCTF, Sharing Seeds has made a profound impact on the lives of 100 small organic coffee-growing farmers by providing essential training and distributing coffee plants.
However, there are additional critical needs on their list that go beyond what the GCTF has already supported.
To ensure they can offer the best possible experience and meet travelers’ expectations, they aim to develop additional infrastructure for an enhanced experience. This includes constructing a western toilet, obtaining necessary equipment, and tiling the space.
With your support, we can continue to assist Sharing Seeds and other community tourism enterprises in implementing all the improvements they need to ensure a great experience for everyone involved. Donate to the Wish List today.
Train and Travel with Women for Africa is a powerful initiative that is transforming the lives of 15 Ivorian women aged 18-35. Through feminist walks in Abidjan, they highlight the contributions of women and raise awareness about women’s rights in Cote d’Ivoire.
In recognition of their dedication and commitment, Train and Travel with Women for Africa secured GCTF funding, which has enabled them to train women in guiding and tour leadership, bringing economic independence and empowerment through active involvement in the tourism industry.
PHASE 3: CONNECT
Connecting communities with travelers and tourism opportunities is vital to our work. We understand that the success of a community tourism enterprise lies in strong market connections, so we partner with travel companies engaged in responsible tourism practices, eager to provide memorable experiences to their travelers while creating a positive impact on the places they visit.
Planeterra then acts as a bridge, facilitating the connection between community tourism at the local level and these travel companies, whom we proudly refer to as our corporate partners. The integration of community-owned and led enterprises into our partners’ itineraries represents our method of connecting communities directly to the advantages offered by tourism.
However, this integration is not as simple as it sounds. Work needs to be done to ensure these communities have all the resources they need to host travelers and provide them with a good experience.
Most of our activities during the connection phase center around field visits, long-term mentorship, capacity building, and oftentimes, kickstart grants. All of this is done with one goal in mind: to ensure their success and create stable funding for the sustainability of community tourism enterprises worldwide.
The connecting phase is the result of a long and rewarding journey! Our wish is to continue creating these connections that allow community-owned enterprises to secure a stable customer base and become financially sustainable. Moreover, we truly believe that by shifting towards this type of responsible travel model, the tourism industry can amplify positive impacts.
How does Planeterra connect the local community to the tourism market?
We couldn’t think of a better example to illustrate this than by introducing you to some of our newest community partners:
Tinkuy Community Tourism is a powerful initiative that brings together 12 families from the community of Cuyo Chico (Sacred Valley, Peru), united to create something extraordinary. Partnering with Planeterra, they received support through comprehensive training programs and facility improvements, enhancing their capacity and resources. We also helped them develop captivating cultural experiences, focusing on traditional pottery and gastronomy.
The true game-changer, however, was the connection established between Tinkuy and one of our corporate partners. This collaboration opened doors to a sustainable source of income through tourism, allowing the community of Cuyo Chico to celebrate traditions and explore newfound economic opportunities.
Ban Ou, nestled along the path to the renowned Kuangsi waterfall in Luang Prabang, holds untapped potential to benefit from the thriving tourism industry. Planeterra provided comprehensive training and supported infrastructure improvements, enhancing their dining area and waste management facilities. With the connection to one of our esteemed corporate partners, 10 local families are now reaping the benefits of welcoming travelers, marking a significant turning point in their journey towards prosperity and self-sufficiency.
Looking ahead, Ban Ou envisions an even brighter future and seeks support for infrastructure improvement, including adding floor tiles to their community hall. Your donation to the Wish List can power their future.
Funtasia, situated on the West Bank of Luxor, offers a unique bike experience led by gap year young students who provide travelers with a glimpse of their culture and the place they call home. Planeterra provided a grant that not only enhanced the safety of the bike tours but also included comprehensive training and support.
Integrating Funtasia‘s bike tours into one of our corporate partner’s itineraries generates income to fuel programs that empower local youth and equip them with the tools they need to create a better future for themselves and for others.
And, speaking of ripple effects, here are a few of the many benefits of using tourism to uplift communities.
Women starting their first jobs outside the home
Children getting increased access to education
Communities promoting a sustainable environment for generations to come
Women taking on leadership roles in their communities
Youth gaining skills to help them find long-term employment
Communities earning a sustainable income through cultural celebration
This is what your donation will support! With the right tools, resources, and access to capital, our community partners can create sustainable tourism enterprises and create sustainable tourism enterprises for a better future.
Donate to Planeterra this holiday season and help us break down barriers for underserved communities, ensuring that the ripple effects of community tourism continue to spread. Together, we are unlocking opportunities for communities worldwide to thrive through tourism.
Also, don’t forget to follow us on social media, share our posts, and tell a friend, relative, or colleague who believes in the power of tourism for good.
And remember, when we give collectively—what we can, with what we have, from where we are—we can make massive change happen.