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12 Days of Remarkable Women to Inspire this Holiday Season

If you have been following along this holiday season, you will have noticed that we have been highlighting some of the remarkable women that Planeterra partners with around the world. Some of these women have their own businesses, are part of cooperatives in their communities, or even work for Planeterra. Enjoy their inspirational quotes and stories here, and click here to help us change the lives of more women in 2019.

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“When I see other women succeeding, it means I’m succeeding, too.”

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“I am happy, very happy, because sometimes that side when there’s no business, at least here [at Tribal Textiles] you’ll find I have customers so I am able to take care of my family and to keep my business going.”

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“With this tourism activity, I got money, I built the house. It changed my life 150%.”

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“My dream is to manage a five-star restaurant one day.”

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“I have so many blessings through Ubuntu. My job allows me to pay for school fees.”

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“I always had a vision to create more opportunities for me, my friends, and neighbours.”

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The tourists are helping us to keep our village clean”, she said. “When the tourists came, people noticed that they weren’t throwing plastic on the ground. Now everyone encourages each other to keep the community clean.”

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“Women can do anything!”

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“The school helped us to be independent, as well to feel how important we are in our family and how we can contribute, as women, to our families.”

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“Today, I am supporting my parents by all means I can and I am independent to make my own decision.”

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“Through this rural tourism project that Planeterra has helped us to do – Homlunch – we get the necessary funds to do our activities and maintain our programs. We are now stronger towards meeting the requests for help and support for vulnerable people.”

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“People with disabilities can have a normal life. I get an education I get skills. And then the best thing, I get married, and I have a son. At first I did not believe it. I can have a job, I can have a marriage and I am happy in my life. For the future if I am lucky I want to be like a businesswoman who has some hotel or has some restaurant, and then from that money I will support some organizations like this. I am very happy if I can help others like that.”

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Introducing: 17 New Planeterra Projects

Planeterra is excited to introduce to you the amazing partnerships that have been established over the last year. From Navajo Nation in the USA to the small town of Hagi in Japan, these new partnerships spread across the entire globe. Click through to read more about each project below:

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Monteverde, Costa Rica
Sustainable farm and coffee producer focused on environmental education.

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Mfuwe, Zambia
Cafe and artisan workshop with product proceeds supporting wildlife protection.

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Grand Canyon, Navajo Nation
Social enterprise incubator supporting Indigenous-owned businesses in Navajo Nation.

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Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Women’s cooperative specializing in traditional Zimbabwean cuisine.

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Kayabwe (Equator), Uganda
Cafe and youth training program supporting HIV-positive children.

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Mekong Delta, Laos
Indigenous Laotian community homestay experience.

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Favela tour supporting five community social enterprises.

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Digana, Sri Lanka
Community guest house and dairy farm providing alternative livelihoods to community members.

 

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Selfoss, Iceland
Purposeful community that empowers and employs community members living with disabilities.

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Liandaowan, China
Woman owned and run restaurant and community centre on the Li River.

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Bandarawela, Sri Lanka
Co-operative of women trained in mango chutney production for livelihood development.

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Hagi, Japan
Homestay run by ageing population in Hagi.

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Christchurch, New Zealand
Social enterprise focused on resourcefulness of people and planet as a means of community building.

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Kao Tep Pitak, Thailand
Community-led homestay, meals and experiences.

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Souf, Jordan
Woman owned and run cafe in Jordan serving traditional meals and hosting cooking classes.

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Laem Sak, Thailand
Community-led tours and sea kayaking.

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South Ghour, Jordan
Youth training and community centre for environmental sustainability of the Dead Sea area.

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2017 Was a Big Year for Planeterra!

Dear friends and supporters,

More than ever before, we saw our partners generate enough income to reinvest back into their communities. We saw youth gain greater agency and find new opportunities for full-time employment in the hospitality industry. We also saw once-marginalized women become decision- makers for their households, helping them gain a newfound confidence through tourism.

With 2017 came big changes for the Planeterra team as well. We reached a tipping point as 50 in 5 rapidly brought on new projects that connected communities to the tourism market. With this expanding growth, we knew we would need more hands on deck, and we’re happy to introduce two new change-makers to our team – Alanna and Rhea.

Alanna joined Planeterra having worked with community development and conservation programs in Zimbabwe and South Africa for several years. Rhea previously worked with women in South Asia, developing her expertise in skills development programs. With this growth, our global team of seven community development practitioners was able to bring to market 15 new projects in 2017.

Each of these partnerships is special and unique, and we’re excited for you to read about each one. This impact report will take you across the globe (and our oceans too!) as we share our year of expanding programs worldwide to directly support an additional 447 women, 66 youth, and 672 community members. In 2017, Planeterra projects provided increased livelihood, employment, and training opportunities to a total of 1,185 people.

It has been humbling to see lives changed by our global work, not just within the communities we partner with, but also amongst each other. We each embarked on new journeys this year, taking us outside the scope of our previous expertise to new countries, cultures, and communities. It is our hope that this report fully embodies the passion we share for the communities we work with, and that you enjoy reading about another year of work that we did together.

From all of us,
Jamie, Adrienne, Kelly, Rhea, Alanna, P.Tung, and Joel

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Sisterhood of Survivors Launches New Travel Business

The Sisterhood of Survivor program in Nepal has come a long way. Initially just a dream to bring survivors of human trafficking into the tourism industry, providing sustainable funding for SASANE’s nonprofit programs. SASANE’s program has trained 10 survivors as paralegals, making them the first point of contact for other survivors. In order to better support this program, SASANE went on to develop a successful mo:mo demonstration and lunch for G Adventures’ travellers through a $25,000 USD catalyst grant from G Adventures and Planeterra, and even won the 12th United Nations World Tourism Award for Excellence and Innovation in Non-Governmental Organizations in 2016. Today, they are dreaming even bigger with the launching of their own trekking business to support northern communities and provide alternative income opportunities, decrease poverty, and combat human trafficking which is prevalent in the area.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Laxmi, a founding member of SASANE and now the lead of the trekking business, to learn more about their progress in starting this new business.

What is the purpose of this new trekking business?

“Our trekking program is targeting the mountain village [Ghyangphedi]. Our goal is to develop the poor communities. They need education and opportunities. Someday, we can work with other villages too.” Ghyangphedi is a vulnerable village, as “there are no job opportunities”, this remote village relies on older agricultural practices, leaving children at risk of being trafficked if an influx of cash is needed. “We did an education program, but now they need an alternative income source.” SASANE has been working with this village for years in order to educate children about human trafficking and their rights. They hope to bring travellers to this villages led by their own guides.

How are you making this happen

“Since 2015 we are sending our girls for guiding license.” SASANE has already sent 10 girls for their guiding license. Right now these guides are building their skills while working with Planeterra and G Adventures in the Sisterhood of Survivors mo:mo demonstration. They have also just launched a new website, are are beginning to create partnerships in the industry to better promote their business.

“We still need experience to gain expertise [in guiding]. Now we are taking our volunteers for trekking. This is very new for us!” The sisters receive a 35-day guide training in theory and practice.

What is next for SASANE?

“Now we are bringing some of the girls from the Ghyangphedi here [Kathmandu] to learn hospitality skills so they can go back home and do hospitality properly. We still need help with the homestays in the village.” There are only 4 homestays now, but before the earthquake there were 10. SASANE had invested in the bathrooms and toilets to improve the quality of these homestays. “We want to help them, but we need to fundraise first.”

Over the coming months SASANE will continue to seek out training for their guides and work on improving the homestays located in the northern villages they are working to support. SASANE has just begun their journey into their trekking business, and we’re very excited to see the impact of their dream in the future.

Follow along on their new website. Learn more about SASANE and support their incredible work to support survivors of human trafficking in Nepal.

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Sustainable Tourism Brings Social Good

Planeterra is dedicated to changing the world by harnessing the travel industry for good, and with this year named the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), now more than ever Planeterra is proving just how travel can change thousands of lives for the better.

The travel industry is a powerhouse for changing the lives and boosting entire economies. The tourism industry alone accounts for 10% of the world’s GDP, and is responsible for 1 in 11 jobs. Utilizing this industry, as well as a special relationship to G Adventures, Planeterra is creating livelihoods for indigenous communities, helping youth find paths to employment, empowering women’s cooperatives and businesses – to name only a few.

Through partnerships around the globe, Planeterra is helping almost 10,000 individuals like Walter, at Mi Cafecito in Costa Rica, to find benefits from engaging with the tourism industry.

“The hotel I was working at was destroyed by a strong earthquake in 2009, and I was left without work,” explains Walter. “After four months, I started to work at the Mi Cafecito coffee cooperative, but was soon at risk of being out of work. It was then that [Planeterra came] and G Adventures groups started to visit again and changed everything.”

Planeterra also focuses on training of youth and at-risk individuals, and is now part of assisting in the training of over 2,700 people around the world, who are now seeing their horizons widen as a result of funding and increased capacity of their training programs. This includes people like Linna, a trainee at Planeterra’s partner New Hope, a training restaurant in Siem Reap, Cambodia, who is gaining meaningful experience towards her goals.

“I went to live with my aunt in Siem Reap and was told about a free English school nearby,” says Linna, who was later offered a position at the school’s affiliated training restaurant. “My dream is to manage a five-star restaurant one day.”  

 

It’s easy to see the impact Planeterra partnerships have had on individuals, as a result of an increase in capacity and business opportunity. Yet the ripple effects can be seen far beyond individuals and their associated social enterprises. At the Parwa Restaurant in the Sacred Valley of Peru, the positive effects of a thriving business have led to massive investments in the welfare of the village and its people. A large influx of travellers led to US$21,800 being spent on community initiatives, including water tanks, a food garden, and a computer centre, only in 2016. Across the world, more than 34,000 individuals are reaping the same types of benefits thanks to Planeterra partnerships. 

As Planeterra continues to find social enterprises around the world to bring into the fold of their 50 in 5 Campaign, more and more women, youth, and entire communities will reap the benefits of tourism – not just in 2017, but for years to come. 

Help Planeterra continue to harness the travel industry for good

Read Planeterra’s 2016 Annual Report

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Introducing: 15 New Planeterra Projects

Planeterra is excited to introduce to you the amazing partnerships that have been established over the last year. From Whistler, Canada to Bohol, Philippines, these new partnerships spread across the entire globe.

This year we are introducing three new women’s projects, three projects that empower at-risk youth, and nine new community-based projects. Planeterra invested over $500,000 to support and kick-start these social enterprises and provide the valuable link to G Adventures’ customer base. Starting 2018, all of these new partnerships will be integrated in G Adventures itineraries, allowing these community-owned organizations to profit and grow through tourism. 

Click through to read more about each project below:

Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre

Whistler, Canada
An indigenous centre in Whistler where travellers are treated to a traditional tea ceremony, bannock tasting and museum visit led by Indigenous guide trained through centre’s training programs.

!Khwa ttu San Cultural Centre

North Cape Town, South Africa
An interpretive museum where travellers learn about San culture and history through a unique tour, run by San guides participating in the centre’s training program for youth.

Make A Difference Homestay

Maribojoc, Philippines
A community homestay which works to bring livelihood opportunities back to a community deeply affected by the 2013 earthquake, lessening dependence on agriculture. 

Jukil Community Lodge

Santiago de Agencha, Bolivia
A community-owned lodge in the salt flats that was once shut down because of lack of tourists – now, 2,500 G Adventures travellers visit the lodge each year.

Wiwa Tours

Sierra Nevada, Colombia
We have worked with the Wiwa community in Gotsezhi to increase livelihood opportunities along the Lost City Trek in Colombia. A new trekking route was established to increase livelihood opportunities including a training kitchen, meal and handicraft experience.

Parque de la Papa

Pampallacta, Peru
An association of six communities dedicating to preserving seeds of Peru’s 3,000+ potato varieties. Travellers get to learn about the potato harvest, seed conservation program and weaving process.

Penduka

Windhoek, Namibia
A restaurant and handicraft workshop that employs 30 disadvantaged women and creates livelihoods for over 200 women in Namibia. G Adventures travellers will enjoy a meal courtesy of Penduka, supporting these women and the social enterprise itself.  

Sanon

Bagan, Myanmar/Burma
A youth training restaurant that provides training to 30 marginalized youth every year. G Adventures will bring about 300 international travellers to Sanon each year, which gives the youth more opportunity to practice and learn English.

 

Migrantour Rome

Rome, Italy
A social enterprise that trains migrants to give tours of the city – with their own flair. G Adventures travellers will learn all about a different side of Rome from a newcomer to Italy as your guide with Migrantour,

Panauti Community Homestay

Panauti, Nepal
A community homestay run by 17 women in Panauti, giving travellers a taste of the local lifestyle. Located just outside of Kathmandu, this homestay provides a great alternative to the city experience. 

Sthree Craft Shop and Cafe

Kandy, Sri Lanka
A craft shop and cafe run by the Women’s Development Centre to empower women and at-risk youth through livelihood opportunities. This social enterprise supports excluded entrepreneurs and nonprofit programs.

Migrantour Naples with Co-op Casba

Naples, Italy
A cultural mediator and NGO with a mandate to educate locals about migrants and diverse cultures and religions. G Adventures travellers will get a unique tour which combines historic sites with landmarks important to the wide variety of migrant groups.

LinkAge

Yangoon, Myanmar/Burma
A training restaurant supported through a partnership with Planeterra and Friends International, training 8 vulnerable youth each year in hospitality. Planeterra has provided funding to improve the restaurant and for capacity building of the students.

Mto wa Mbu

Rift Valley, Tanzania
A community tour which provides travellers with a taste of local life, while improving livelihood opportunities for community members. Planeterra works with their Tourism Enterprise to improve the impact of tourism. 

Espai Mescladis

Barcelona, Spain
A training kitchen and cafe for migrants, refugees, and youth, that helps create opportunities for employment and promotes a culture of diversity in Barcelona. 

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Celebrating International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2017

August 9th marks the United Nation’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Planeterra works closely with indigenous groups across the globe to create meaningful employment and training opportunities in tourism. These programs work to conserve culture while promoting sustainable development. From Tully, Australia to Santiago de Agencha, Bolivia, take a closer look at our unique partners across the globe that are celebrating their heritage through tourism programs. Each of these initiatives has been effectively integrated into G Adventures itineraries, creating livelihood opportunities for indigenous communities. 

Cafe Chole

The Jirrbal people are descendants of a true rainforest Aboriginal culture.  As a means to preserve the Jirrbal heritage, Planeterra worked closely with Ingan Tours, an Jirrbal-owned and managed organization, to bring to life their dream of transforming an old rail station into a learning centre for youth.  This Cafe and Cultural Centre serves as a place to teach about the Jirrbal traditions, as well as a museum to celebrate and preserve artefacts of their history. With the help of a $20,000 catalyst grant from Planeterra, the old Tully railway station has been repurposed into a vocational training café, offering lunches and training workshops in painting and Aboriginal arts to travellers. 

Jukil Community Lodge

The Bolivian salt lodge in Santiago de Agencha was renovated and expanded through a major project in 2016 funded by Planeterra, with a generous donation from Live Out There. With many of the village’s younger residents migrating to nearby towns in search of economic opportunities, this lodge is seen by the community as a way to rescue their indigenous culture and provide opportunities for younger generations. Visitors learn about the local agricultural practices, eat ethically-sourced meals from local farmers , and take a guided walk with a community member to the sacred Jukil mountaintop.

Barauli Community Homestay

The Tharu are a group of indigenous people living near to Chitwan National Park. The park is a popular tourism attraction that is well known for its wildlife (such as the Bengal tiger) but less known for the cultural value that it has to offer 
travellers. Baurali is a small community in the surrounding area, home to many of the Tharu people.  Due to its distance from the typical tourism hotspots in the park, the Tharu residents have never been able to access the economic benefits of tourism. The community guesthouse program was developed by our partners, Royal Mountain Travel, to connect travellers coming for park’s wildlife with the rich culture of the Tharu people. The community guesthouse project is completely run by women with the intention to provide women with diversified income in the region. 

Wiwa Tours

In 2015, Planeterra began working in Colombia with the Wiwa of the Sierra Nevada. The Wiwa are descendants of the ancient Tayrona people, who, up until recently, remained in relative isolation. Of late, the Wiwa have had increased contact with the outside world, as they struggle to avoid conflict in the high mountainous region. Planeterra is working with community leaders directly to identify opportunities in communities along the Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) trekking route. Establishing micro-enterprises along the trek will provide opportunities for women to sell traditional bags and other handicrafts to customers from tour groups that visit the area as well as to provide meals to trekkers.
 

Mae Hong Son Hilltribe Trek

Planeterra worked with Community Based Tourism-Institute (CBT-I), to develop and deliver an 8-month training program that would build the capacity of the villages of Pha Mon (Red Lahu), Meung Pam (Red Karen), and Jabo (Black Lahu) in Northern Thailand to develop a tourism trekking program. Within each village, a community association was created to manage the various products and services included in this community trek — the entire trek is owned and operated by each of the hill-tribe associations. These communities had never before benefitted from a global tourism market before.

Ngadas Community Homestay

Home to 1,898 people in central Java, Indonesia, Ngadas is a small community inhabited by the Tennger tribe in the foothills of the mountains. The Tennger are the protectors of the mountain, Mount Bromo Volcano, one of the most sacred sites in the country. By working with the Tengger people, Planeterra created a homestay and community tour program owned and managed by the Tengger for G Adventures travellers. The homestay program is inside Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park and will allow for the older generation to diversify their income; as well as create opportunities to provide employment for the next generation of Tenngerese to stay in their local community to work. 

Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre

Historical events such as the flu smallpox epidemics as well as the implementation of residential schools and the fracturing of families led to the alteration or loss of much of the oral history important to the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations of the Whistler region of Canada. The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre affords youth from reserves in the region transport for classes, and the opportunity to train in the hospitality industry through on-site museum and cultural tours. Through their partnership with Planeterra and G Adventures, the centre is able to increase their visitor numbers, giving them more opportunities to expand their training base and available visitor activities.
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Talking Sustainable Travel with The Native Traveler

The United Nations declared 2017 the International Year for Sustainable Tourism – but what does that mean for you? Planeterra’s own Kelly Galaski joined the Native Traveler to talk about what Sustainable Tourism means for us here at Planeterra and for our partners at G Adventures, and how our conscious purchasing efforts can lead to a better future for everyone.

The show is hosted by Liz Beatty, and includes interviews with Erla Zwingle, a freelance journalist that has appeared over 25 times in National Geographic Magazine, and Elizabeth Becker, an award winning author, editor and journalist.

LISTEN NOW

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Looking Back at 2016

Dear Friends and Supporters,

2016 was a very big year for Planeterra. We officially launched our CAD$5 million “50 in 5” campaign, with a goal of including 50 new social enterprises into G Adventures tours in 5 years. These will be in addition to the 25 social enterprises that we had already worked with G Adventures to bring to market.

I’m excited to share that we made a great start on this campaign in 2016, successfully bringing 11 new social enterprises to the G Adventures market. We also raised CAD$983,460 in 2016. Added to the pre-launch funds raised during G Adventures’ Ignite the Night 25th Anniversary event in late 2015, this total puts us well on target to reach 50 in 5 on time and on budget.

Planeterra’s vision is to improve people’s lives by creating and supporting social enterprises that bring underserved communities into the tourism value chain. My hope is that this 2016 Impact Report brings this vision to life and provides you with a better understanding of what we do and why we do it.

Simply put, we believe that what we are doing at Planeterra has the potential to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who live in tourism hotspots, but who currently see little or no benefit from people visiting their homelands.

Rather than raising money from travellers and travel companies to give philanthropically to well-meaning health and education projects (typically seen as a “hand out” in development terms), we have embarked on a mission to help people help themselves. In doing so, we work with tourism industry partners to support the development of small and micro social enterprises that provide disadvantaged and often marginalized local people with a “hand up.”

What we have seen is that, once empowered to set up and run their own community / non-profit businesses, these same people then invest their earnings and profits into the priorities they have personally chosen for themselves – perhaps not surprisingly, these are often in the areas of education, health care, supporting cultural heritage, and conservation.

The key difference is that, following the initial start-up grants and some ongoing support and mentoring from the Planeterra team and our partners, their businesses provide sustainable funds for these initiatives. They are no longer reliant on the charity of others; instead, they have engaged in trade, not aid.

I wish to thank all of our supporters, including the travellers who visited our projects, the G Adventures CEOs (Chief Experience Officers – aka tour leaders) who led their groups to experience the projects, and the companies and individuals who generously donated both time and money to allow us to do this important work.

Special thanks goes to our founding partner G Adventures, which, under the leadership of Bruce Poon Tip, continually pushes to do more when it comes to helping improve the lives of the people who live in the places their tours visit.

Enjoy reading about the impact we’ve made in 2016. We look forward to the next four years and delivering the remainder of our 50 in 5 projects.

Best wishes,

Jamie Sweeting

Planeterra President 

READ OUR 2016 IMPACT REPORT

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Planeterra Community Projects Attend Largest Travel Show in Perú

Perú Travel Mart is the most important strategic meeting of the tourism industry in Perú. The event has brought international buyers together with local suppliers since 1987. In 2017, for the very first time, two of Planeterra’s partners were exhibitors at this international event.

Representatives from Parwa Community Restaurant were able to pay their way to attend the trade show with savings from their tourism program. They went further to also pay the way for the Ccaccaccollo Women’s Weaving Co-op to join them. Both projects are based in the Cusco region and work closely together to provide outstanding tourism experiences for international travellers.

Attending Perú Travel Mart marks a transition into the greater tourism industry for these community-owned social enterprises. Through our work with both communities, providing catalyst funding, training, market connections and ongoing support through the years, both of these programs are now in a position to diversify their markets, and seek out their own partnerships with travel industry partners beyond G Adventures.  They will be able to see an even greater impact in a communities once completely forgotten by tourism. G Adventures’ contracting manager accompanied community members at Perú Travel Mart to provide guidance and coaching as they build out their marketing skills.

Parwa Community Restaurant and Ccaccaccollo Weaving Co-op host 16,000 or more G Adventures travellers annually. The magnitude of their tourism programs have allowed them to invest significantly back into community development programs in their regions, seeing drastic improvements in education, infrastructure and access to healthcare in their communities.


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