The Wish List

Uplifting Communities Worldwide with the Wish List

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 Giving Tuesday, starting November 28, and officially ends on December 26, 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.


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 endeavours, 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. 

Your donation to the Wish List can help turn Penggerak Pariwisata Pajokka Balocci’s aspirations into reality.

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 travellers 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.


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 travellers’ 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. 

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.


Connecting communities with travellers 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 travellers 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 travel 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 travellers 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 way to show you what we mean 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 travel 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 Kuang Si 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 travel partners, 10 local families are now reaping the benefits of welcoming travellers, 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 travellers 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 travel 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 others.

Tourism is a dynamic industry, and community tourism enterprises often encounter the need to enhance their infrastructure and facilities, invest in more training, or create new experiences from scratch. With your help, we can assist them in refining their offerings responsibly, benefiting both the local communities and the environment and generating ripple effects for everyone involved. 

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.

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Holiday generosity changing lives year after year

Written by Julia Pitcher – Communications and Development Coordinator, Planeterra

For the past several years, Planeterra has launched a fundraising campaign over the holidays to raise funds to uplift communities around the world. Without fail, Planeterra donors have answered our call for support. Particularly in these last few years, the Wish List Campaign became especially relevant during the global pandemic as several Planeterra community partners were struggling, but our donors played a crucial role in helping us transform these challenges into opportunities.

In 2020, during the height of uncertainty, our donors rallied for the Home For The Holidays Campaign. Their unwavering support became a lifeline for our community partners, such as the AidChild Leadership Institute in Uganda.

Without tourism income, their ability to care for HIV-positive orphans was suffering —until our supporters stepped in, ensuring these children had food and care during tumultuous times.

AidChild’s Café & Gallery Kayabwe (Equator), Uganda
Zoológico Magico-Planeterra
Cooperativa Zoológico Magico San Martin de Tilajate, Oaxaca, Mexico

The following year, in 2021, holiday donors reignited hope for communities who were preparing to partner with Planeterra pre-pandemic but had to put their dreams on hold. Take Zoológico Mágico, an Indigenous women-owned artisan cooperative in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Your generosity equipped these women with the tools they needed to preserve their cultural heritage. Turning their traditional skills into a sustainable livelihood while fighting against the commodification of Zapoteca crafts and culture. 

Then came 2022—a testament to the unwavering commitment of our holiday donors. Their generosity gave a path forward for community partners’ overwhelmed with the devastation of the pandemic. Like the Lusumpuko Women’s Club, with their equipment and sanitation systems deteriorating they had too much to overcome after years without an income.

With Planeterra donors by their side, the community tourism enterprise has not only been revived but it has thrived. They now welcome even more travelers, offering more employment opportunities for women while reinstating crucial community support initiatives.

From a burial fund for bereaved community members to providing meals for hospital patients in need, the ripple effects of your donations are being felt throughout the community at large. 

Lusumpuko Women’s Club
Lusumpuko Women’s Club Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Today, as we stand on the cusp of another holiday season and Planeterra’s 20th Anniversary, we couldn’t be more excited to focus once again on funding the future of community tourism.  

Community tourism doesn’t just provide much-needed income, it can seed opportunities, fuel dreams, and create a future where traditions flourish and communities thrive on their terms. As you’ve read, we can’t do it alone, we need everyone to join forces with Planeterra to empower, support, and connect communities to the resources they need to change their lives. 

We only have one wish this holiday season: 

We wish to strengthen community tourism around the world, so that economic opportunities are created, places are protected, and cultures are celebrated through travel.

Will you help us? – Donate today

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Environmental Protection

Did you know that over 70% of Planeterra’s project partners invest a percentage of their profits into environmental protection ensuring income from travel positively impacts local conservation efforts?

Around the world, communities are working to protect their surrounding ecosystem which serves as both a resource and a home. Planeterra believes that tourism should help improve environmental well-being for the benefit of communities instead of degrading or misusing their natural resources.

Responsible tourism has proven to have the potential to support conservation efforts, mainly by creating awareness and providing communities with resources, helping them to move away from engaging in environmentally-destructive activities such as logging or illegal hunting just because they cannot find other means to survive.

Planeterra supports programs that positively impact their communities by conserving the natural environment for future generations to enjoy, such as our program with Soa Zara.

Soa Zara seeks to protect Madagascar’s natural environment while empowering its people, and the result is the reforestation of the area around Ranohira.  They work with the local community on a number of environmental initiatives, such as the  “energy tree” project, which encourages locals to grow and use trees solely for the purpose of firewood and charcoal (like fast-growing acacia and eucalyptus) and to discourage the cutting of forests. This will lead to a renewal of habitat for species like endangered lemurs, and also expand the current ecosystem within Isalo National Park. 

Planeterra has partnered with Soa Zara on a tree-planting activity for travellers staying at the ITC Lodge. They also create awareness by giving visitors the chance to learn about this reforestation project.

Soa Zara Ranohira, Madagascar

Along with this steady stream of income from the tree planting experience, we are also helping to support Soa Zara’s current washbasin project to protect the nearby river from pollution. For this, they work with the local women’s cooperative, the goal is to create a washbasin station and water filtration system in Ranohira, which will allow the community to do their laundry in a safe environment without polluting nearby water systems.

Another interesting environmental initiative is Mi Cafecito, a tourism and agriculture co-op in Costa Rica. They have used the production of delicious organic coffee, amongst other local root vegetables and cacao, to create employment opportunities as well as connect local farmers and artisans with a market to sell their products.

Planeterra supported the development of the Mi Cafecito program, which includes a coffee tour and a meal experience at their on-site restaurant, and other related tourism services in the area. Hosting travellers has been an opportunity to make their business sustainable.

Over the years the cooperative has obtained several certifications, all of them showing their commitment to improving the environment, taking care of the land, using organic fertilizers, supporting farmers and fostering entrepreneurship.

Mi Cafecito Sarapiqui, Costa Rica

Like Soa Zara and Mi Cafecito, there are many community tourism businesses working to protect the environment, however, COVID-19 made it difficult for them to have the necessary resources and facilities to continue hosting travellers.

This is the case of Osmose, a non-governmental organization dedicated to the environmental preservation and the socio-economic development of the Prek Toal area, located in the Tonle Sap UNESCO Biosphere reserve in Cambodia. They created several floating structures: a Saray water hyacinth handicraft workshop, an environmental education school, and a community restaurant all connected by a floating bridge to welcome travellers, but they need maintenance and repairs.

Having no income from tourism due to COVID-19, they had to use their savings for emergencies and there was not enough left to pay to repair the floating structures. Planeterra has supported the renovation of some of the various platforms. However, the community is in need of additional resources to complete these repairs so that it is safer for staff and visitors to the area.

Osmose Prek Toal area, Cambodia

Part of building a sustainable future for all includes being mindful of the decisions we make today. We support communities by providing the mentorship, training, and skills they need, in addition to facilitating the market connection for their projects to be successful. 

We want to continue giving them the tools to protect the places they call home and that we all love to visit. If you’d like to support our work, consider donating to Planeterra today.

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New Paths for Youth

Did you know youth in many parts of the world still have limited access to formal education and fewer job opportunities?

You probably did, but why is that a problem? Young people help build the present and shape our future. Whether this future is sustainable or not, will depend on the decisions made not only by our generation but also by the next. Needless to say, we have to give youth the tools and support they need to create positive life paths and unleash their power.

Developing skills to work in industries such as tourism and hospitality provides them with exciting opportunities and empowerment. Planeterra is proud to support programs that help at-risk youth develop new skills and create a better future for themselves and their communities. 

Take Bike with Purpose, a student-led bicycle tour of Caye Caulker Island, Belize, for instance. We developed this project in partnership with the Ocean Academy, the first and only community high school on the island that opened in 2008 to give students a decent education. Before the academy opened, the youth had to travel to the mainland to study, so by the age of 12 many have chosen to quit school and find work.

Today there are 125 students enrolled in Ocean Academy and 25 of them are directly involved in the Bike with Purpose project. As the local economy of the island has shifted to aquatic sports, tourism and hospitality services the youth involved in the project develop the skills and training needed for future employment opportunities. Further, the project has reduced the school dropout rate. 

Bike with Purpose Caye Caulker, Belize

To support Bike with Purpose, Planeterra raised donations to fund needed bicycles and other materials. We also connected them to our tourism partners, creating a constant stream of travellers. Nowadays, Bike with Purpose also funds nearly 15% of the educational programs for the students at Ocean Academy.

Another great example of youth empowerment is  City Walk run by Salaam Baalak Trust, an organization that provides safe housing, counselling, education, and support to over 5,000 children in New Delhi, as well as managing five safe homes across the city.

India has the highest concentration of street children in the world, with more than 18 million kids living on the streets. Without adequate shelter and care, children often suffer from malnourishment and do not have access to formal education and medical treatment. Likewise, without support from family, they are left to fend for themselves, entering the labour market at an early age. Many are vulnerable and forced into child prostitution, drug trafficking, or resort to begging to earn an income for their exploiters.

That is why Salaam Baalak Trust’s work is so important. Through City Walk, they give youth the opportunity to gain a new set of skills, improve their communication skills (including learning English) and boost their self-confidence. 

Youth lead tours and show travellers a different perspective of Delhi. At the same time, the interaction with visitors from across the globe exposes them to different points of view. Since its inception, over 33 guides have been part of this program. Eighteen former guides have completed their higher studies from universities in India and the US with scholarships; and today are entrepreneurs, working in travel companies, interning at the Indian Parliament and Indian railways, and studying to be development sector professionals. 

City Walk New Delhi, India

Planeterra helps the City Walk program by connecting them to the tourism market, allowing them to have a reliable stream of income to support their education and social service work. This is crucial since funds from the City Walk program are used to provide scholarships and job placements for youth, as well as resources for the shelters. 

Our wish is to continue supporting programs like City Walk and Bike with a Purpose. We can’t do it without you! Donate today and help us build a sustainable future for youth through community tourism.

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Conserving Cultures

Did you know that lack of awareness can contribute to the loss of invaluable cultural heritage?

The cultural diversity of our world is one of our greatest treasures. However, we have sadly seen how traditions, languages and cultural practices are being lost because indigenous and rural communities are oftentimes forced to change their ways of life.

Losing this heritage would mean losing invaluable knowledge that has shaped our identities and ways of relating to people and the environment for centuries.

Tourism can help preserve traditions, foster cultural awareness and strengthen identities and sense of belonging. Responsible travel experiences broaden our horizons because we interact with people from different backgrounds and learn about their ways of life. At the same time, by travelling, we can help improve the quality of life of many communities worldwide.

Planeterra supports programs that recognize the unique offerings that indigenous and rural communities have for tourism. We help to create meaningful connections between travellers and indigenous people through social enterprise. 

Over the years we have seen that conserving cultures through tourism is possible and it can empower local people to improve their livelihoods by sharing their heritage. 

The Ccaccaccollo Women’s Weaving Co-op, for instance, is a great example of how communities can use tourism as a tool to protect and preserve natural and cultural resources while expressing, sharing, developing, and pursuing traditions.

Ccaccaccollo is an Indigenous community located in the Andean region of Cuzco, Perú. Despite being close to a popular tourist attraction, Machu Picchu, Ccaccaccollo did not benefit from tourism. Also, like many communities around the world, women were frequently excluded from educational and economic opportunities.

Ccaccaccollo Women's Weaving Co-op Sacred Valley, Perú

Planeterra funded training programs to help bring back the weaving traditions that had been lost over the previous generations as there wasn’t a way to earn a significant income. When we first developed a partnership with the women in the Ccaccaccollo Community, the cooperative was run by only 3 women – today, the cooperative is owned by 46 women. 

Through our partnership and a connection to travellers, the Ccaccaccollo Women’s Weaving Co-op has been able to contribute to their families’ income. The women who have been with the project since the beginning report that all of their children study at university. Those involved in the cooperative are the first generation to be completely literate in Spanish. 

And with the success of the Co-op, they have also grown their enterprise and opened a Community Homestay.

Another inspiring initiative is the San Antonio Women’s Cooperative. This project was born from the desire of the women in San Antonio village (Cayo District, Belize) to preserve the Mayan Yucatec culture and revive aspects like the language that was being forgotten. They also wanted to find a way to earn an income, empower women and inspire the children and youth.

Planeterra provided a grant to the San Antonio Women’s Co-op which allowed them to build an indoor workshop space. The new space has increased the center’s capacity to host many more travellers and has given them added space to safely house their products. This space also resulted in the cooperative being able to add a training program for unemployed youth in the community so that they too can benefit from tourism.

When travellers visit the San Antonio Women’s Cooperative, they learn about corn grinding and tortilla making and get a chance to try their hand at ancient pottery-making techniques.

The women in San Antonio are proud to share their traditional knowledge not only with visitors but with the younger generation. Their great work was recently recognized as the best “Cultural Experience of the Year” by the Belize Tourism Board.

San Antonio Women’s Co-op San Ignacio, Belize

We want to see more projects like the Ccaccaccollo Women’s Weaving Co-op and the San Antonio Women’s Cooperative thrive. Nevertheless, with challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic arising, the barriers are higher (yet with your support, not impossible!).

This is the case of the Lusumpuko Women’s Club in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. They started as a group of chicken-rearers who also occasionally cater to church and local community gatherings. With Planeterra’s help, they’ve shifted into also hosting a cooking class for local travellers. 

This has allowed them to rediscover their cultural history as they create dishes from their memories with their parents and grandparents. Likewise, it has given them the chance to continue learning about tailoring, catering, and animal husbandry, traditional trades that were reserved for men, creating income for their families and communities while empowering other women to build and launch their own businesses.

But they suffered the same fate as many tourism businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Having no travellers visiting them meant no income to continue implementing much-needed improvements to the equipment they use to prepare food, the core of their business.

For the Lusumpuko Women’s Club to continue providing delicious meals for travellers and locals, we need your support to help them with renewals and repairs to their stoves and other equipment. 

If you’d like to “get a taste” of what it is like to be hosted by the vibrant women at Lusumpuko, you can see them towards the end of this video, at the 10 minutes mark. Fun fact shared by Evie, Planeterra’s Regional Program Manager AMEE:

This is Lusumpuko every day, they are so vibrant and happy to receive travellers. It also helps that their food is amazing!! Especially the caterpillars

Lusumpuko Women’s Club Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Planeterra wants to continue seeing projects like Lusumpuko Women’s Club improving the livelihoods of their communities while celebrating and conserving their culture. If you feel the same way, consider donating to Planeterra today.

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Women’s Empowerment

Did you know that although women make up over half of the tourism workforce, they are often underpaid and have limited opportunities to move into higher positions in their jobs?

At Planeterra, we work to change that by empowering women to take the lead in the development and growth of tourism experiences. Over the years, we have seen how the work of women has not only had a positive impact on their lives but also on the well-being of their communities. This, as a result, contributes to creating more stable and just societies.

We are proud to have supported inspiring projects that seek to empower women all over the world. One of them is Women With Wheels, in New Delhi, a project that is challenging cultural norms and paving new paths for women across India. Our ground partner, Azad Foundation, works with disadvantaged women from resource-poor urban areas across India to empower them to become professional commercial drivers.

Women with Wheels New Delhi, India

A few weeks ago, we hosted the Women’s Leadership in Tourism webinar. Towards the end, we had the honour to hear Bubblyi, one of the drivers the program has supported, talk about her experience. When she started the training seven years ago, she was scared as she was not aware of the routes in New Delhi. Looking back to her first day, Bubblyi remembers crying when it got dark because she felt she was not going to be able to find the way back home.  

Fast forward to today, Bubblyi now drives with confidence, even at night. Travellers have complimented her skills several times as they can see first-hand how challenging it is to drive on India’s chaotic roads. Bubblyi also became a team leader, with responsibility for ten women under her watch and she even drives to other cities (this is a huge deal!). 

Bubblyi takes pride in what she does and her ability to financially support herself and her family. Moreover, she has inspired other women from her community to join the training and become drivers as well. 

Our wish is to see more projects like this thriving and to have more women taking on leadership roles in their communities. But what do we need? For instance, a change in mindsets and opportunities.

By providing life-changing access to education, job training (both in business acumen and soft skills) and mentorship, Planeterra has been able to provide women with opportunities in the tourism sector. But in addition to that, there are other needs for women-owned businesses to succeed.

Take the example of Princess Sewing Cooperative, a women-run business that focuses on tailoring services in the Victoria Falls township of Mkhosana, Zimbabwe. Planeterra provided extensive business training as well as lobbying for the cooperative to become a laundry supplier for local tour groups visiting the area. 

Providing laundry services made it possible for women in the cooperative to increase their income, meaning they could afford school fees for their children, complete their studies and lead an above-average economic life. However, COVID-19 slowed down their business tremendously as there were no travellers in need of their services. In addition to this, they are in need of new equipment including water tank pumps to store water for laundry due to water shortages in the township, and a dryer.

Princess Sewing & Laundry Co-op Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Help women-led businesses like Princess Sewing Cooperative prosper and benefit from tourism again. Consider donating to Planeterra. Your support will allow us to continue empowering women all over the world.

Together, we are building a more sustainable future for women!

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Tourism Recovery

Did you know that while travel is steadily returning, the impacts of COVID-19 on communities involved in tourism are still being felt?

It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on tourism worldwide. Having no visitors for months, and in some cases years, meant tourism businesses had to look for alternatives to survive because let’s face it, bills still needed to be paid.

For Planeterra, it has been difficult to see the projects our community partners started with so much enthusiasm coming to a halt. The return of travellers brings hope to communities all over the world. Over the last few months, we’ve seen travellers having cultural immersion tours in Baracoa, Cuba or enjoying the hospitality of the community at Hill-Tribes Trek in Thailand once again (learn more about our partners who have welcomed travellers this year, here).

However, this is not the same fate for all of our community partners. AFER Women’s Association HomLunch in Morocco, for instance, began the construction of a kitchen before the pandemic started. They hoped to use it to prepare and serve a delicious traditional lunch for locals and travellers. Sadly, when COVID-19 hit, they had to stop the construction and prioritize expenditures in other areas. Having the kitchen construction unfinished means travellers cannot visit them and thus, the community can no longer benefit from tourism.  

AFER Women’s Association HomLunch M’Haya, Morocco

Our partners Puesta del Sol, an association led by women in the community of La Paloma, Nicaragua, are facing a similar situation. While they’ve put efforts into their community homestay program, the fact that they had to close for almost three years due to COVID-19 has prevented them from investing in much-needed equipment to better host travellers, such as new mattresses, and sheets, among others.

These are only two of the many examples that showcase the need to focus on getting communities “back on their feet” so they can build a stronger, more sustainable, and resilient tourism economy. In other words, before we can invest in the future of tourism, we need to invest in the recovery of our community partners. 

We need to make sure they have all the resources and facilities they need to welcome travellers again, and also provide mentorships and facilitate access to training material so they feel confident and empowered to get back in the game.

Puesta del Sol Association Ometepe, Nicaragua

Planeterra’s wish for this holiday season is to continue supporting the recovery of projects like AFER Women’s Association HomLunch and Puesta del Sol. We want to see them enjoying the benefits of tourism as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic, do you also feel the same way?

Donate to Planeterra’s Wish List today. With your continued support, the potential is infinite!

Click here to learn more about the Wish List.

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The Wish List 2022

Web - The Wish List

Planeterra believes that community tourism, at its very best, can break down barriers to engage underserved communities in meaningful, life-changing ways. It is our wish to see our partners and local communities benefit from tourism, but there are still challenges to overcome, especially after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With travel steadily returning, we are hopeful for the future of tourism and all the opportunities it will bring. For that reason, Planeterra has launched its year-end giving campaign, the Wish List, to raise funds for community enterprises around the globe.

Planeterra’s holiday wishes for 2022

Women’s Empowerment

Women make up over half of the tourism workforce and yet they are often underpaid and have limited opportunities to move into higher positions in their jobs. 

We wish to see women thrive in their communities, redefining their roles in society and having the financial freedom and opportunities that they deserve but so rarely get in the tourism industry.

Learn more, here.

AFER Association HomLunch
Conserve Cultures

Lack of awareness can contribute to the loss of invaluable cultural heritage. Creating meaningful connections between travellers and local communities through social enterprise helps preserve cultures.

We wish to support Indigenous and rural communities who want to show the world their unique offerings and use tourism to celebrate and protect their culture rather than harming it.

Learn more, here.

New Paths for Youth 

Youth in many parts of the world have limited access to formal education and fewer job opportunities. 

We wish community tourism enterprises working to create new paths and opportunities for at-risk youth in their communities are uplifted for years to come.

Learn more, here.

Environmental Protection

Around the world, communities are working to protect their surrounding ecosystem which serves as both a resource and a home. By supporting programs that positively impact the environment, future generations can also get a chance to enjoy our planet’s natural resources.

We wish to see a travel industry filled with community enterprises with access to the support they need to protect and conserve their ecosystems through responsible travel.

Learn more, here.

Tourism Recovery

While travel is steadily returning, the impacts of COVID-19 on communities involved in tourism are still being felt. 

We wish for our community partners to receive the grants they need to recover from years without an income so that we can make sure communities aren’t left behind as tourism restarts.

Learn more, here.


Thank you for helping Planeterra grant wishes this holiday season! 

The Wish List Campaign kicks off on #GivingTuesday (November 29, 2022) and officially ends on December 31. This year, Bruce & Roula Poon Tip have generously offered to match donations up to $25,000 to create double the impact!

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