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.