A fund that provides small grants and mentorship to community tourism enterprises (CTEs) to accelerate growth and impact through new or improved quality of tourism experiences.

Maasai Clean Cookstoves Rift Valley, Tanzania

About the Fund

The Global Community Tourism Fund is an initiative of Planeterra that seeks to promote entrepreneurship and innovation for community tourism enterprises (CTEs) within the Global Community Tourism Network, creating the ability for enterprises to scale up and improve existing tourism experiences with high growth and impact potential. 

The Global Community Tourism Fund provides small grants and mentorship in the following areas:

  • Creation of new experiences within existing enterprises based on market demand
  • Improvements to existing experiences based on market demand
  • Investment in the infrastructure needed to improve the quality or safety of tourism experiences
  • Marketing initiatives based on demand
  • Necessary training or professional development for staff
  • Creation of nature-positive solutions and/or experiences (for example an addition of a restoration program, nature-based walking tour, etc.).

The application period for the Global Community Tourism Fund is now open. Please have a look at the Framework for more information.

Who can apply?

To apply for the GCT Fund, community tourism enterprises must:

  • Be an approved member of the Global Community Tourism Network.
  • Be an active member of the Planeterra Learning Hub platform.
  • Have been an Impact Partner of the Global Community Tourism Network for at least 30 days at the time of application
  • Have proven tourism potential, having hosted travellers in the past.
  • Be legally established with an organizational bank account to receive the funds.
  • Have the ability to track and manage financial reports, or show a willingness to learn.
  • Actively participate in the Global Community Tourism Network activities.

Not yet a member of the Global Community Tourism Network? Join here.

The GCT Fund will prioritize projects that:

  • Have a proven ability to scale profits and impact
  • Provide a product or service differentiated from local competitors
  • Have a responsible value chain (supply chain)
  • Are innovative and are based on existing research and/or proven models
  • Work to solve at least one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
AFER Women’s Association HomLunch M’Haya, Morocco

What type of activities can be funded?

  • Consulting, advisory and specialized technical services focused on enterprise growth, including training and capacity building.
  • Market studies, focus groups and other studies to validate the model of business and inform future growth.
  • Improvement of tourism facilities that increase functionalities or expansion of the enterprise.
  • Equipment to improve tourism services.

*The application period is open until June 16 at 11:59 PM EST. If you’re a member of the Global Community Tourism Network, click the button below to submit your application today!

Meet the previous recipients of the GCT Fund

Asociación de Turismo Rural Solidario (ASTURS), Perú

A community-owned and led organization that offers homestays in the Lake Titicaca area. Tourism is re-starting slowly but local families are required to improve their offer to guarantee health and security for travellers. They used the fund to provide water filters to their piped water system for 15 indigenous households, which allows access to cleaner and potable water. Local families have also received training on how to use and maintain these filters.

Planeterra - Red de Turismo comunitario Jipijapa Wankavilka, Ecuador
Red de Turismo Comunitario Jipijapa Wankavilka (RTCJW), Ecuador

Seven communities in Manabí are part of the Jipijapa Wankavilka community tourism network. Despite having the infrastructure and tourist attractions, COVID prevented local enterprises from flourishing. Lack of access to the Internet is also one of the issues RTCJW faces. To overcome these barriers, they worked on a marketing plan, which included audiovisual, promotional materials and resources, an updated website and training for local leaders.

Red Rocks Intercultural Exchange
Red Rocks Intercultural Exchange Center, Rwanda

A social enterprise that uses tourism to uplift the local community and engage youth and women in the creation and management of unique experiences. As tourism returns to Rwanda, Red Rocks has been working with the locals to create and improve their handicrafts and different types of visual and decorative artwork so visitors can purchase them. As a result, the employability of women and youth through their artwork and talent has increased.

Osmose Cambodia
Osmose, Cambodia

An NGO dedicated to the environmental preservation and the socio-economic development of the Prek Toal area (Tonle Sap UNESCO Biosphere Reserve). They work on several initiatives to facilitate the conservation of the environment and the sustainable livelihoods of the floating village communities. The fund allowed them to fix a bridge platform that connects different platforms in the area and now access is safer for both locals and visitors.

The Cove, Malawi
The Cove, Malawi

An eco-lodge and social enterprise venture in Chitende, a small fishing village in Malawi. They want to use revenue from tourism to support local development projects. One of the main issues they face is the lack of access to water. They have been working to add a piped water source in a central location to allow about 15 households to have cleaner and closer access to potable water. The construction part of the project is also creating jobs for the locals.

Lavender Jeep
Lavender Jeep, Cambodia

Tourism is the main source of income for people in Siem Reap, so COVID-19 had a severe impact on local enterprises. Lavender Jeep was not an exemption; their team had no job and no income. Fortunately, with Planeterra’s help and a personal loan they were able to get the project up and running. The fund has allowed them to near completion of Jeep licensing requirements in Cambodia and they soon will be able to conduct tours freely in Siem Reap.

Girls Empowered by Travel, Nepal
Girls Empowered by Travel, Nepal

A local nonprofit that provides safe opportunities for women to travel and get involved in community work. Road construction increasing rapidly in the area resulted in landslides during the rainy season. The goal of the project is to arrange the trails by mobilizing the locals, removing the bushes and arranging some walkable trails by paving some stones. This will help to improve the safety and well-being of locals and visitors.

Centro de Turismo Comunitario La Moya (Comuna La Moya, Chimborazo Province, Ecuador)
Centro de Turismo Comunitario La Moya, Ecuador

La Moya is an Indigenous Puruhá community of 50 families that shares its culture, worldview, and knowledge in medicine, gastronomy, customs, and traditions with others. They operate a Community Tourism Center offering lodging and local food services, aiming to generate additional income for the community through tourism. The fund was utilized to enhance restaurant services, thereby improving the dining experience for all visitors.

Asociación de Artesanas de Chorrera (Chorrera, Juan de Acosta, Colombia)
Asociación de Artesanas de Chorrera, Colombia

Chorrera Artisans Association comprises 130 artisans specializing in crochet and natural fibre fabrics. Through their tourism experience, Tejiendo Ilusiones, they highlight and preserve ancestral knowledge and culture. The fund was used to boost visibility through a website and promotional materials, aiming to raise awareness and benefit association members.

Cooperativa de Agroturismo Red de Turismo Campesino (San Carlos, Salta Province, Argentina)
Co-op de Agroturismo Red de Turismo Campesino, Argentina

Established in 2008, this cooperative sells handicrafts, agricultural products, and rural tourism services. Founded and managed by 25 families of small-scale farmers from rural communities in the Calchaquí Valley, they used the fund to improve and maintain the association’s premises, providing a safer and more welcoming environment for visitors.

Asociación de mujeres María del Mar Bocagrande (Tumaco, Nariño, Colombia)
Asoc. de Mujeres María del Mar Bocagrande, Colombia

María del Mar Bocagrande Women’s Association, operating in a beach area with severe erosion, provides transportation, lodging, food, and guiding services to tackle the issue and promote economic sustainability. They used the fund to improve their lodging facilities to provide better services and create employment opportunities for young single mothers who are heads of households in the area.

Sociedad de Turismo Comunitario Suni Uta Choquemarka (Suni Uta Choquemarca - Caripe Community, Municipality of Curahuara de Carangas, Sajama Province, Bolivia
Soc. de Turismo Comunitario Suni Uta Choquemarca, Bolivia

The Suni Uta Choquemarca community in Bolivia’s first protected area operates as a tourism cooperative to generate income and stem youth migration to neighbouring Chile. With a legally established tourism organization, employing five people permanently, they own Albergue Ecoturistico Tomarapi. The fund was used to install a solar hot water heater for sustainable hot water service.

Asociación Turismo Rural Comunitario Kusy Kausay (Pongobamba Community, Cusco, Peru)
Asoc. Turismo Rural Comunitario Kusi Kausay, Peru

Eight women and three men from the community of Pongobamba comprise this association. Located near Cusco, they offer various tourism experiences, including demonstrations of handicrafts, agriculture, gastronomy featuring native products from the area, and lodging in family homes. They requested funding for the purchase of double mattresses to enhance and expand their lodging services. As a result, they can now accommodate more visitors and increase their income.

Jamao Eco Tours (Jamao Al Norte, Espaillat, Dominican Republic)
Jamao Eco Tours, Dominican Republic

This community project is comprised of 20 young members from the Municipality of Jamao al Norte. They aim to preserve the local environment while fostering sustainable tourism opportunities for others to enjoy. The project also helps local community members achieve economic independence. They utilized the fund to purchase a kayak and life jackets, enabling them to accommodate more travellers on their kayak tours.

San Vicente Ecoturismo (San Joaquín Morelos, Tlalpujahua de Rayón, Michoacán, México)
San Vicente Ecoturismo, Mexico

San Vicente Ecotourism, a team of 15 dedicated individuals, preserves the firefly ecosystem in San Joaquín Morelos. Over four years, they’ve promoted nature tourism in local forests, aiming to create jobs for the community. They also collaborate with researchers to study firefly species and offer various activities like hiking, biking, and camping. The fund was used to improve their visitor center and provide much-needed training for their team.

Tribal Textiles (Mfuwe, eastern Province, Zambia)
Tribal Textiles, Zambia

Tribal Textiles supports local artisans by crafting exquisite, hand-painted textiles using traditional techniques. They produce unique homeware and accessories while advocating for fair trade practices. Committed to community development, Tribal Textiles reinvests a portion of its profits into local initiatives. To address the lack of waste management, they applied for funding to purchase a kiln for a recycling project.

Train & Travel with Women For Africa (Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire)
Train & Travel with Women For Africa, Côte d’Ivoire 

Train & Travel with Women For Africa empowers young women in Côte d’Ivoire through sustainable tourism training. This program equips them with the skills and knowledge to navigate the tourism industry, promoting personal growth and economic independence while contributing to sustainable practices. They applied for the fund to invest in training 15 women aged 18-35 to empower them with skills to host a feminist walking tour in Abidjan.

Muhabura Cultural Experience and Craft Centre (Koranya village, Muramba sub-county, Kisoro district - Uganda)
Muhabura Cultural Experience and Craft Centre, Uganda

The Muhabura Cultural Experience and Craft Centre is a social enterprise dedicated to cultural tourism and empowering local communities. Visitors can immerse themselves in Kigezi and Virunga cultures, learn traditional crafts from local women, and support sustainable livelihoods by purchasing handmade souvenirs. The fund was used to expand the crafts gallery and for marketing purposes.

Red Rocks Rwanda (Nkotsi Sector, Musanze District, Northern Province-Rwanda )
Red Rocks, Rwanda

Red Rocks provides affordable lodging and cultural experiences near Volcanoes National Park in Musanze, focusing on responsible tourism that empowers underserved communities. They train women and youth in crafts like basket weaving and support their business ventures through cooperatives, marketing, and microfinance. The fund created employment for 50 youth and 50 vulnerable women.

SPOONS Cafe Restaurant (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
SPOONS Cafe Restaurant, Cambodia

SPOONS is a training restaurant that empowers underprivileged youth through education, training, and employment opportunities in the hospitality industry. The restaurant provides students with practical experience by serving real customers and travellers. SPOONS applied for the fund to enhance their waste management system, allowing recyclable waste to be separated as part of the ‘refill not landfill’ campaign, contributing to environmental preservation.

Barauli Community Homestay 
Chitwan, Nepal
Barauli Community Homestay, Nepal

This homestay, run by indigenous Tharu women near Chitwan National Park, provides an authentic cultural and wildlife experience in the nearby community forests. The fund helps install two more solar panel systems to meet the increasing demand for hot water and lighting, aiming to improve guest experiences while reducing environmental impact through clean energy.

North Andaman Network Foundation - Kao Thep Pitak (Kuraburi, Phnag Nga, Thailand)
North Andaman Network Foundation, Thailand

Since 2016, Planeterra has collaborated with the Khaoteppitak community, offering food and hygiene training and aiding in the enhancement of tourism activities in the area. Recently, the community applied for a GCTF grant to upgrade their restaurant, which has been affected by building deterioration caused by high humidity and termite infestations. The grant aims to ensure a hygienic experience for travellers by repairing the building and equipment.

Tenacious Bee Collective (Badsar Village, Himachal Pradesh, India)
Tenacious Bee Collective (TBC), India

TBC used the funt to expand its “Communing with Native Himalayan Bees” initiative to revitalize beekeeping in rural areas and boost bee populations and profitability in the Himalayan mountain regions. Led by women and youth from five local communities, the program features an apiary shed on farmland, serving as a learning hub for travellers and students to gain hands-on experience with beekeeping and conservation practices.

Odisha Ecotourism Foundation (Desia Village, Koraput, Odisha, India)
Odisha Ecotourism Foundation, India

They operate two community-based ecolodges in remote areas near Odisha to conserve nature and promote eco-tourism. The funds were used to train 10 Nature Guides on the biodiversity and natural habitat of unique bird and plant species in the area. These guides will lead Nature Walks for travellers, providing them with accurate information about the region and contributing to the preservation of knowledge and conservation of nature.

Sharing Seeds, Nepal

Sharing Seeds, situated in Sarangakot Pandeli village near the tourism hub of Pokhara, aims to support local farmers in producing organic Arabica coffee, engage in beekeeping, and provide opportunities for local women and youth to create recyclable handicrafts. The fund will support digital marketing, promotional video creation, signboard installation for guided tours, and the establishment of an advanced coffee parchment center.

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Support the growth of the Global Community Tourism Fund and help Planeterra continue to break down barriers for local entrepreneurs and communities worldwide.