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.