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.
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.
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!