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FAM Trips in Peru to promote local tourism experiences

IUCN FAM Trip

IUCN and Planeterra have been working with communities in Río Abiseo National Park and the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve in Peru to develop community-based tourism enterprises and link them to the travel market.

One of the best ways to do this is through familiarization trips, also known as FAM trips, where tour operators can get to know the communities first-hand. Therefore, organizing a FAM trip was one of the main initiatives of the project.

Last October, representatives from several Peruvian tour operators gathered in the Río Abiseo National Park and the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve to discover all the wonderful experiences the communities have to offer.

FAM Trip in the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve

From the 16th to 22nd of October, six representatives from various Peruvian tour operators, two Amarakaeri management representatives and the IUCN media team gathered in the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve to discover all the wonderful experiences the communities of Queros Shintuya, Boca Ishiriwe and Puerto Azul Mberowe have to offer.

During the FAM trip, participants had the opportunity to interact with the communities, learn about their culture and natural environment, taste their traditional dishes and experience new tourism proposals. The main activities included:

  • Visiting the Hinkiori petroglyphs and getting to know the local handicrafts in Queros.
  • Conservation and handicraft experience by the “Oteri” initiative, culinary tasting by the “Wandar Wachinokeri” initiative and visiting the hot springs in Shintuya.
  • Visiting the macaw clay lick in Puerto Azul Mberowe.
  • Visiting a mammal clay lick in Boca Ishiriwe.

The FAM trip was a great learning experience for the communities, especially for two of them as it was their first time hosting tour operators. The feedback from the participants will be of great value in improving existing tourism offerings or creating new experiences.

FAM Trip in the Río Abiseo National Park

From the 27th to 29th of October, four local and regional Peruvian tour operators, four destination managers from the public and private sectors and the IUCN media team visited the communities of Dos de Mayo, Pucallpillo, Santa Rosa, Pizarro and San Juan del Abiseo in the Río Abiseo National Park.

During the FAM trip, participants had the opportunity to interact with the communities, learn about their culture and natural environment, taste their traditional dishes and experience new tourism proposals. The main activities included:

  • The Chocoplatano gastronomic experience.
  • Nature and cultural experiences through the cocoa fields in Pulcapillo.
  • Touring the Meliponas circuit in Pizarro.
  • Tasting of bark and root-based beverages in San Juan del Abiseo.

Although this was the first time the communities had hosted tour operators, they did an excellent job. They’d prepared special receptions, speeches and dances, and had excellent time management skills. 

The communities were motivated to take the lead and start ‘now’, especially after the construction work was done through the cash-for-work mechanism. 

The FAM trip participants provided input, helped them with the formalities of working and shared the next steps. This feedback inspired communities and other stakeholders to compromise and continue working to promote the destination and the great tourism experiences it has to offer. 

These FAM trips are just the beginning of a great journey in tourism for the communities of Río Abiseo National Park and Amarakaeri. Read more about the ‘Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas in a Post-COVID World’ project, here.

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The transformation behind a donation

Written by Julia Pitcher – Communications and Development Coordinator

Planeterra is proud to have such an amazing base of supporters contributing to ensuring tourism dollars remain in the hands of local people. With thousands of donors over the years joining us in protecting the environment and empowering women, youth, and Indigenous and rural communities.

If it wasn’t for our network of supporters we wouldn’t have been able to help develop 100 community tourism enterprises and get them ready to enter the international market with our partners. We wouldn’t have been able to give over 500 communities access to our one-of-a-kind online training resources and facilitate peer-to-peer learning.

In 2022, we wouldn’t have been able to start our Global Community Tourism Fund which saw grants going to 7 communities needing a hand up as they got ready to welcome travellers. Donations over the last year have enabled our team and partners to join forces yet again, helping community tourism enterprises recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and continue turning travel into impact.

It feels amazing to be able to share the transformation behind these donations. In the last year, our donors have enabled our team and partners to join forces, helping community tourism enterprises recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and continue turning travel into impact. Here are just a few examples of what supporting Planeterra looks like on the ground. 

In collaboration with The Mongolian Down Syndrome Association, No Limits Cafe provides job skills and employment for young adults with down syndrome and their mothers.

In the past, they were left out of skill training and shunned due to societal norms, leaving them unable to access employment opportunities. Planeterra has been able to provide training and equipment upgrades, increasing the Cafe’s reach even more.

With the new equipment, the cafe can now host and gain an income from travellers, providing coffee and homemade snacks. Planeterra shared technical training resources helping the mothers and youth feel more confident than ever in their abilities.

We are so excited for when they will receive their first travellers from our partner, G Adventures, bringing in sustainable income for their inspirational work.

No Limits Cafe
Zoológico Mágico

Zoológico Mágico, an Indigenous, women-owned-and-run cooperative is celebrating the Zapoteca culture in Oaxaca, Mexico.

In the area, there are 24 traditional artisans who make authentic Alebrijes, a traditional wooden figure. Unfortunately, fake copies of the art are on the rise at shops in the main tourist hub, increasing the risk of losing this traditional skill in favour of the more abundant and cheap alternative.

With contributions from our supporters, we are all working to strengthen the preservation of Alebrijes and provide employment opportunities for Indigenous women fighting against the commodification of their culture. 

This includes grants to be able to improve their workshop facilities, not just as a storefront, but to host travellers for an authentic handicraft experience. Through one-to-one mentorship, Zoólogico Mágico was also able to further develop their business and connect to the international market.

This support means that travellers will soon get to experience the cultural heritage of famous Oaxacan artisans and know that their visit is bringing long-term sustainability to the women-run cooperative.

The Museo Comunitario Isla Maciel is a community group of teachers, students and parents supporting community development and well-being in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  

Our donors have helped make sure Planeterra is able to partner with this inspiring organization working together to achieve their goals of breaking the stigma associated with their neighbourhood. While providing youth with opportunities to gain skills in tourism and connecting them to the global marketplace. 

Through investing in the development of a new kitchen, training programs and the group’s ‘Paint Your Island’ project, Planeterra increased the capacity of local infrastructure to host travellers. Now, visitors will be taken on a community tour with newly trained youth guides showcasing beautiful murals painted by local artists, and hear the inspirational story of how they are working together to better their community while combatting social discrimination. 

We love sharing the positive impact our supporters have on the development of sustainable livelihoods around the world, it goes to show that when we work together, the potential is infinite. Community changemakers like No Limits Café, Zoológico Mágico, and Museo Comunitario Isla Maciel are just a few of our partners that donors have supported.

Our Global Community Tourism Network has now connected over 500 communities just like them, all working hard to use tourism to change lives. 

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5 Ways to support Planeterra

Planeterra_Thank you for helping us turn travel into impact!

You’ve been following Planeterra for a while and are wondering how to support our work. First of all, thank you! We couldn’t do it without you. At Planeterra, we believe that every action counts, and there are certainly lots of ways in which you can get involved. In this post, we’d like to share five ideas to inspire you.

1. Make a donation

Planeterra is a nonprofit organization and we can continue connecting communities around the globe to the benefits of tourism thanks to the generosity of our donors. 

Donations allow us to:

  • Improve existing tourism experiences.
  • Provide training or professional development for community tourism enterprises’ staff.
  • Give community tourism enterprises access to mentorship to create new tourism experiences based on market demand.
  • Invest in building the infrastructure that local communities need to provide a tourism experience.

So, If you are able to help Planeterra financially, consider donating through this link. And, if you want to go a step further, you can become one of our Citizens of Change through monthly support. Click here to learn more. 

2. Visit one of our projects

Travelling can be a transformative experience both for you and for the people you meet during your journey. By choosing to visit a community-owned enterprise, you are creating more impact than you can imagine. You are not only supporting the economic development of people in the area, but you’re also contributing to preserving their cultures and ways of life.

You can check out some of the projects we support, here and if you’re ready to book your next holiday, don’t forget to check out the life-changing tours offered by our partners G Adventures, Travelsphere and Just You as they have integrated Planeterra projects into their trip itineraries around the world.

3. Spread the word on social media

Social media, when used responsibly, is a very powerful tool. We use these platforms to share with our followers a bit about our work and to introduce you to the amazing projects that are using tourism to change lives.

That being said, when you like, share or comment on one of our Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter posts or YouTube videos, you are helping us spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of community tourism.

And of course, we also share our monthly updates through our newsletter, so inviting people to subscribe is another great way to support Planeterra. 

4. Visit our Partner Shop

Did you know, you can support Planeterra’s community partners from home? Visit our Partner Shop and you’ll see a list of projects that have the ability to ship products directly to your home. Online orders are not just a great source of revenue for our partners, but it helps them to diversify their income.

Plus, they can be a great idea for a birthday or Christmas present.

We’d only like to note that Planeterra is not involved in, or responsible for, any online orders. Our partner shop page serves as a reference to promote our partners and provide them with a platform for traffic to their online stores.

5. Buy from our shop

And last but not least, you can uplift communities through tourism by shopping at Planeterra’s store! We have a great variety of accessories, sweaters and T-shirts with inspiring messages so you can “wear your impact” every day. Proceeds from items purchased will go towards Planeterra’s global programs.

Planeterra shop

We hope you enjoyed reading this post. Let us know in the comments what is your preferred way to support Planeterra. Thank you again for helping us make a difference.

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Pilot trips introduce the communities in Vietnam to the tourism market

Pilot trips in Vietnam 2

Community members at Cuc Phuong National Park and Van Long Nature Reserve in Vietnam are putting their newly acquired skills in sustainable tourism operations to the test by hosting real visitors.

The teams at IUCN and Planeterra have organized pilot excursions to the protected areas, so community members have the chance to be exposed to different visitor markets, allowing them to practise what they have learned in the past few months during the training sessions, in real-life situations.

The pilot trips offer travellers two itineraries:

A weekend getaway in Van Long Nature Reserve

Van Long Wetland Nature Reserve is one of the largest wetland nature reserves in the Vietnamese Northern Delta. The natural land area is more than 3,500 hectares and consists of eleven ecosystems, the two major being the limestone forest and wetland ecosystems.

Travellers that joined this trip, are amongst the first visitors to be welcomed by the local communities of Gia Hoa commune (Gia Vien district, Ninh Binh). Here are some of the activities that they enjoyed:

  • Getting to know the pristine and charming beauty of “Ha Long Bay on land, still relatively unknown to most tourists.
  • Discovered the authentic northern lifestyle while learning about the livelihood of the locals.
  • Sampled some delicious dishes prepared with fresh ingredients grown locally.
  • Went for a boat ride through the vast area of Van Long wetland to enjoy the peaceful scenery.

Explore Muong Culture in Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong National Park is the oldest national park in Vietnam. It was founded in 1962 and it is already a well-known tourist destination. Cuc Phuong’s ancient forest is home to more than 2,234 vascular and non-vascular plants, 122 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 135 species of mammals, including clouded leopard, Delacour’s langur, Owston’s civet, and Asiatic black bear.

The activities that the communities of Khanh village (An Nghia commune, Lac Son district, Hoa Binh) specially designed for this itinerary are:

  • Exploring the rich culture of Muong ethnic people, one of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups.
  • An immersive culinary experience, including a trek in the primary forest to explore the abundant flora and fauna of this region.
  • Get a taste of delicious mountainous dishes made from local fresh ingredients.
  • Discovering how local communities / indigenous groups are integrated into the work of the protected area’s management.

Outcomes of the pilot trips

Visitors had a chance to explore the local culture and the natural surroundings and community members got to interact will real travellers and get a better understanding of what hosting a tour looks like. 

Visitors were impressed with the hospitality of the local people and found that the training provided to the local communities by the Project, was valuable and helped its purpose. 

After their experience, visitors were asked for their thoughts and some improvements suggestions were pointed out. The feedback from these pilot trips will allow community members to improve their tourism offers.

To learn more about the Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas in a Post-COVID World project, click here.

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Planeterra receives the Meaningful Tourism Award 2022

The Meaningful Tourism Award, recognizes Planeterra's commitment to creating a new approach to tourism.

We are thrilled to announce that the jury of the Meaningful Tourism Award 2022 has chosen Planeterra as a Gold winner in the category of Host Communities.

The Award was organized into different categories based on the six main stakeholders of Meaningful Tourism: 

  • Visitors;
  • Host communities;
  • Employees of service-providing companies; 
  • Service-providing companies;
  • National, regional and local governments; and 
  • The Environment for future generations. 

For each category, awards were given in recognition of work done either by or for stakeholder groups to improve quality, benefits and satisfaction.

Planeterra has been chosen for its commitment to creating a new approach to tourism: neither seeing the customer as king nor centering on short-term profits. Furthermore, the award emphasizes the importance of focusing on more than just environmental concerns to achieve a positive future.

GOLD Meaningful Tourism Award - Planeterra

The CEO of the Meaningful Tourism Center, Prof. Dr. Arlt stated: “we are delighted to see how many stakeholders around the world have started to create new approaches to tourism”. For the Meaningful Tourism Center, “the task is not to ‘balance’ the different stakeholders’ interests, but to align them in a way that benefits and satisfies the interests of all stakeholders.”

This was the first edition of the Meaningful Tourism Award, which will in the future be organized annually. The names of the 18 Award winners for 2022, were revealed during the Meaningful Tourism Panel at the ITB ASIA in Singapore. 

According to Prof. Dr. Arlt, “the companies and organizations selected can consider themselves as being among the avant-garde of tomorrow’s tourism development”.

To learn more about Meaningful Tourism Cente, click here.

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Cash-for-work to empower local communities in Peru

Cash-for-work interventions are creating opportunities for local communities to strengthen their economies and to empower their sense of ownership.

Dos de Mayo Community, Río Abiseo National Park

One of the main problems that arise when developing community tourism experiences, is the lack of infrastructure to accommodate visitors and offer them the services they need for a comfortable stay. Building the facilities is the obvious solution to this issue, but what if we also took advantage of the chance to give the residents an additional source of income? That is where the Cash-for-Work (CFW) mechanism comes into play.

CFW interventions aim to create opportunities for local communities to strengthen their economies and empower their sense of ownership. For that reason, CFW is one of the main initiatives included in the Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas in a Post-COVID World project for the communities in Peru.

Community members have previously identified in their Action Plans construction works that needed to be given priority. These interventions are fully funded through the CFW mechanism. During the past few weeks, ten communities in Amarakaeri Communal Reserve and Río Abiseo National Park have been working to build the needed infrastructure and facilities.

These are some of the results of their work:

New facility San Juan del Abiseo

San Juan del Abiseo Community (Río Abiseo National Park)

In San Juan del Abiseo, residents worked to build a house for tourists and a “Welcome to the community” sign. This project directly benefits 17 community members (14 men and 3 women).

Pizarro community viewpoint

Pizarro Community (Río Abiseo National Park)

In Pizarro, residents worked to build a tourist viewpoint, improving the road to access it. They also reformed an exhibition space for meliponiculture (the breeding of melipon bees or stingless bees) and one booth for sanitary facilities. This project directly benefits 28 community members (24 men and 4 women).

Pulcapillo Delivering facilities in Pucallpillo community

Pucallpillo Community (Río Abiseo National Park)

In Pucallpillo, residents worked to build three bridges to improve accessibility in the community. They also built a welcome booth (“Tambo” at the local pier), a “Welcome to the community” sign and the signposting for a cocoa demonstration plot. This project directly benefits 30 community members (26 men and 4 women).

Clara-del-Aguila-Aspajo-and-her-son-Jose-Caballero-del-Aguila-in-their-new-bread-facilities-scaled.Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa Community (Río Abiseo National Park)

In Santa Rosa, residents worked to improve the maloca (rest area), the pedestrian access road to its Botanical Garden. They also built an artisan oven, a community bridge and giant 3D letters with the name of the community. This project directly benefits 22 community members (17 men and 5 women).

Supervision-entrega_Mejora-de-acceso-a-la-comunidad-Dos-de-Mayo-scaled.jpg

Dos de Mayo Community (Río Abiseo National Park)

In Dos de Mayo, residents worked to build a bridge to improve the access between the pier and the central area of the community. This project directly benefits 20 community members (18 men and 2 women).

Proceso de elaboración de Tachos ecologicos_Shintuya

Shintuya Community (Amarakaeri Communal Reserve)

In Shintuya, residents worked to build a sanitary pit for community waste and six wooden huts with three garbage cans made out of local plant roots. This project directly benefits 34 community members (12 men and 22 women). Note: the construction aims to be completed by October 31, 2022.

Armado de la construcción_Puerto Azul

Puerto Azul Community (Amarakaeri Communal Reserve)

In Puerto Azul, residents worked to build a community dining room. This project directly benefits 15 community members (10 men and 5 women). Note: the construction aims to be completed by October 31, 2022.

Boca Ishiriwe Limpieza del Área de construcción

Boca Ishiriwe Community (Amarakaeri Communal Reserve)

In Boca Ishiriwe, residents are working to build a visitor reception centre. This project directly benefits 26 community members (12 men and 14 women). Note: the construction aims to be completed by October 31, 2022.

Apertura de área 5_ sembrado de Castaña Barranco Chico

Barranco Chico Community (Amarakaeri Communal Reserve)

In Barranco Chico, residents are working to plant ornamental and production plants such as chestnuts, palm trees and coconut, among others. This project directly benefits 25 community members (9 men and 16 women). Note: the construction aims to be completed by October 15, 2022.

In around five months of work in both protected areas, all these interventions have positively impacted 243 individuals (152 men and 91 women). The Planeterra team has been supervising the process in each community of the Río Abiseo National Park between September 19 and 30, 2022.

To learn more about the Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas in a Post-COVID World project, click here.

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Condé Nast Traveler Names Planeterra One of 2022’s “Bright Ideas in Travel”

Written by Tricia Schers – Director, Partnerships and Development

“To be recognized as one of the organizations transforming the travel industry by one of the world’s leading travel publications is an honour,” said Jamie Sweeting, President of Planeterra.

Planeterra - Condé Nast Traveler's Bright Ideas in Travel 2022 list

We are thrilled to announce that Planeterra has been recognized in Condé Nast Traveler’s first-ever Bright Ideas in Travel list.

The recognition is for our Global Community Tourism Fund. Through this fund, Planeterra provides small grants to help local entrepreneurs and communities worldwide benefit from tourism, ultimately making the future of travel more responsible and equitable.

“To be recognized as one of the organizations transforming the travel industry by one of the world’s leading travel publications is an honour,” said Jamie Sweeting, President of Planeterra. 

The Bright Ideas in Travel list is a special annual edition that highlights businesses and individuals who are tackling the most pressing issues in tourism and driving the industry forward. The list is divided into different sections including hotels, destinations, air travel, cruise, rail travel, space travel, planning tools and organizations and classified with the following badge keys: tech, design, sustainability, community, accessibility, inclusion and conservation. 

According to Condé Nast Traveler, Planeterra and the other innovators featured on the list are changing the way we travel. Honorees were selected by their global network of editors working in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, India, the Middle East, and China. 

The Global Community Tourism Fund is one of the first programs in the tourism industry to reach out specifically to community-based organizations with grants ranging from $1,500 to $3,000. You can read more about our first round of grants here

Looking ahead, we plan to grow the fund to be able to offer more grants in 2023 and we invite travel companies and travellers interested in supporting this innovative initiative to join us to help uplift even more communities through travel.

To learn more about Condé Nast Traveler Bright Ideas in Travel 2022, click here.

Help support the Global Community Tourism Fund, donate here.

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World Tourism Day 2022, a time for reflection

Written by Tricia Schers – Director, Partnerships and Development

Through our GCTN, we are helping tourism to build back better and in a more inclusive way that engages thousands of local people all over the world.

Ngadas Community Homestay - Java, Indonesia

Each year World Tourism Day is celebrated on September 27. This year the official World Tourism Day celebration will be held in Bali, Indonesia and focus on the theme: ‘Rethinking Tourism’. 

Putting communities at the centre of the conversation is something Planeterra has been doing since our inception and on the occasion of World Tourism Day, we are celebrating how the travel industry is reshaping the roles of communities in tourism. We truly believe that the potential for tourism to be a force for good is infinite and we welcome the opportunity for our approximately 450 community tourism partners to be at the forefront of a reimagined tourism industry. 

Through our Global Community Tourism Network (GCTN), we are helping the industry to build back better and in a more inclusive way that engages thousands of local people all over the world. 

While it has been an unimaginably difficult couple of years, Planeterra has been working to help our community partners to recover and prepare to receive travellers once again. Although many partners are fully operational, for others, the road to recovery has been more difficult and they are still working to be ready to welcome their first visitors. 

With the World Tourism Day celebration taking place in Indonesia this year, we’d like to take this opportunity to spotlight two of Planeterra’s community partners from this beautiful country that are working to create a positive impact:

Ngadas Community Homestay

Ngadas Community Homestay – Java, Indonesia

The village of Ngadas is home to the Tengger tribe. This community acts as the protectors of Mount Bromo Volcano, one of the most sacred sites in Indonesia. By working with the Tengger tribe, we created a homestay and community tour program that is fully owned and managed by them.

The program benefits 498 households with ripple effects supporting many micro-enterprises that include: local farmers, local guides, drivers, tour guides, and homestay hosts.

The homestay program is located inside of Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park and allows the older generation to diversify their income. It also creates opportunities to employ the next generation of Tenngerese enabling them to stay in their local community. Travellers have a chance to meet and stay in a traditional Tengger home and explore the surroundings on a community-developed hike.

Learn more about Ngadas Community Homestay, here.

Senang Hati – Bali, Indonesia 

The Senang Hati Foundation provides programs to develop self-confidence, and physical and economic independence as well as to create awareness for the rights of differently-abled adults in Ubud, Bali. The centre provides skills training that enables members to become self-supporting through jobs related to hospitality, painting, sewing, and woodworking. Every year, 30 students benefit from the program, moving on to start their own businesses and families.

Planeterra supported Senang Hati in renovating their dream kitchen. This kitchen is fully accessible with counters, sinks, shelves, and working spaces customized for those using mobility devices. 

When visiting them, travellers enjoy a traditional Balinese lunch that is prepped, cooked, and served by the members at Senang Hati.

Learn more about Senang Hati, here.

If you would like to support our work to uplift community-owned tourism businesses, you can donate here.

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Rethinking the way the tourism industry operates

“The potential of tourism is enormous and we have a shared responsibility to make sure it is fully realized” - Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general UNWTO

Tourism is an $8 trillion global industry, but many local businesses and communities do not benefit from it. There are some forms of tourism where $0 reaches the hands of local people. Planeterra is working to change that.

Each year World Tourism Day (WTD) is celebrated on September 27 to spread awareness about the importance of tourism and its impact. This year’s WTD invites us to “Rethink Tourism”, to collectively reflect on where our sector is going, what have we all learned in the last couple of years having experienced the impact of the pandemic, where we want to go and most importantly, how we get there without leaving anyone behind.

In the words of the secretary-general of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, “the potential of tourism is enormous and we have a shared responsibility to make sure it is fully realized”. Over the years, we have witnessed how tourism can enhance communities worldwide. By working closely with them, we have seen how economic opportunities are created, places are protected, and cultures are celebrated through travel. However, we are well aware that there are great challenges to overcome and are determined to keep defying the way the tourism industry operates.

It has been an unimaginably difficult couple of years for the tourism sector due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The road to recovery has not been easy, though as the world opens up again, travelers are slowly returning to our partners and we can take the lessons learned to strengthen our impact on the future.

Planeterra cannot think of a better way to celebrate tourism than by continuing to amplify the voices of communities, finding the best ways to put people at the center of key discussions and supporting community tourism enterprises that have big social and environmental goals. This way, tourism dollars stay in the community, creating jobs and training opportunities, with profits invested into community development and environmental programs locally. 

We also wanted to share that over the past few months, we have been working on our flagship initiative, Project 100, in which we plan to incorporate 100 community tourism experiences into G Adventures tours. As countries have been opening back up, new community experiences have been integrated into these exciting tours and we are so close to reaching our milestone!

Today, we want to introduce you to two community enterprises that are part of Project 100. These businesses are making a difference in their communities by working with travelers and giving them the chance to experience the local culture and create lasting memories. 

GoodWork Foundation_planeterra

Good Work Foundation – Hazyview, South Africa

The Kruger National Park is a well-known tourist destination and while it is a thriving financial hub and creates many job opportunities, in the villages that surround the glamorous fences of the park, thousands of people live in poverty, with no access to education and basic livelihood needs. This is where Good Work Foundation (GWF) comes into play.

GWF is a nonprofit organization that trains local youth in technology, conservation as well as Tourism and Hospitality. They provide opportunities in the tourism sector for youth in the villages bordering the Kruger National Park. Every year the GWF provides free training to 25 youth and bridges them into opportunities in the hotels and lodges in the area.

Thanks to the GWF, youth are gaining skills in entrepreneurship and tourism to break the cycle of poverty around the Kruger National Park by generating sources of income. Additionally, through the training provided by the GWF, youth are able to access much-needed education.

Planeterra partnered with the GWF and their Hospitality Academy to create an express Coffee Bar that serves delicious coffee and a tasty macadamia snack sourced locally to travellers who are visiting the Kruger National Park.

The Coffee Bar supports covering tuition and is also an opportunity for youth in the program to receive practical training in barista skills as well as earnings for their work. Tourism allows the GWF to reduce their dependency on grants to fund the academy, increase class sizes and train more youth.

To learn more about GWF, click here.

Safi Kitchen_Jordan_Planeterra_P100

Safi Kitchen – Southern Ghawr, Jordan

Creating opportunities for women and youth and preserving the local culture and natural resources of the southern region of the Jordan Valley (Ghawr) inspired Safi Kitchen to open its doors at the end of 2019. This nonprofit organization invites locals to participate in an authentic farm and meal experience to showcase their traditions and culture through food.

By engaging in tourism activities, community members receive a much-needed income from the kitchen. Women can now make their own financial decisions and youth are leading up conservation activities in their communities. 

The community continues to value their environment and more businesses are being led by women. They are also sharing their culture authentically and are working to position their region as a tourist destination.

Through a partnership with Safi Kitchen, Planeterra facilitated a market connection to the tourism sector, where travellers enjoy an authentic meal experience and understand the traditional methods of farming in Jordan while seeing the fresh ingredients picked and used in their meals. They also get an opportunity to learn about how this community is using agriculture to preserve their environment.

Safi Kitchen provides a traditional lunch, tea and snacks to travellers. They also have an in-community bike trail for active travellers with a mountainous backdrop. The tour is led by youth from the community who are receiving an income from the tours.

To learn more about Safi Kitchen, click here.

Stay tuned to discover more community enterprises that will benefit from hosting travelers!

If you would like to support our work to uplift community-owned tourism businesses, you can donate here.

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Health & Safety training for community tourism in a post-COVID era

“Thanks to the project’s workshop, we have a chance to sit together, have open discussions and be engaged in developing our community rules” - Mr. Trinh Van Kim (Doi Ngo village, Van Long NR).

Doi Ngo_Vietnam_Planeterra_IUCN

In July and August 2022, our team in Vietnam conducted training on Health and Safety (H&S) implications in community tourism at Cuc Phuong National Park and Van Long Wetlands Nature Reserve.

With this activity, we aimed to provide suggestions on operational procedures to manage health risks for tourism-related experiences in a post-COVID-19 era. We also wanted to share public space renovation ideas to create a safe tourism environment in the communities and guide service providers in good practices for waste treatment.

A total of 58 people attended the H&S workshops at two villages in Cuc Phuong National Park and 125 at three villages in Van Long Wetlands Nature Reserve.

During these sessions, community members became aware of the Rules and Regulations in H&S and community tourism services proposed by local authorities and developed a Code of Conduct for H&S and Services, including a set of rules that guests should follow during their stay in the villages.

In addition, the local community agreed on an Action Plan for renovating the public space to create a clean, healthy, and safe environment to welcome guests. Some of the proposed interventions are:

  • Transforming a designated area in Khanh village into a parking lot and planting tall trees to provide shade.
  • Reducing waste in every household.
  • Making the villages even more picturesque by planting more flowers and decorating trees in front of local family homes.

Community members have also compromised to follow H&S procedures when welcoming guests and gained knowledge about the cleaning and waste management processes. 

While conducting the H&S training, our team in Vietnam reflected on the importance of sharing information about H&S-related issues with the community in general, not only with those involved in tourism. Therefore, they decided to hold different sessions, one for all residents and another for the households that provide tourism activities.

HS training - Vuon Thi_Vietnam_Planeterra_IUCN

They also realized that, when working on a project, it is crucial to have in-depth knowledge about situations, beliefs and the characteristics of each community to adjust training or activities to their specific needs.

Click here to learn more about the ‘Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas in a Post-COVID World’

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