Non-profit organisation Planeterra has created a network of more than 200 community tourism enterprises from 68 countries to share experiences and lessons.
Called The Global Community Tourism Network, it offers a virtual community which can exchange ideas and contacts, as well as promotion and marketing opportunities through Planeterra – a partner organisation to G Adventures.
There is also an online learning hub for those in the network.
Jamie Sweeting, president of Planeterra, said training and support is often the biggest barrier for community tourism enterprises.
He added: “Planeterra is breaking down these barriers so communities can access more revenue from travellers to achieve their community goals – be it women’s empowerment, cultural celebration, environmental conservation, improving access to healthcare and education, or building self-esteem and pride.
“Bringing communities together to support one another and collectively shape the future of community tourism is creating hope at a time when it’s needed most.”
Between 2015 and 2019, Planterra helped drive more than $10 million of tourism revenue to communities.
Sweeting urges travellers, governments and the travel industry to partner with Planeterra to help tourism recover with community benefits in mind.
“We strongly believe that community tourism is the most effective way for the travel industry to positively impact host communities – and with our model, we can change millions of lives in the next few years,” he said.
“In order to succeed, the travel industry needs more travellers, travel companies and governments to join Planeterra, and put communities at the heart of tourism’s recovery.
“This will ensure local people benefit from travel as it emerges post-Covid.”
One of the 200+ organisations that joined the Global Community Tourism Network is Alebrijes Zoologico Magico in Mexico (pictured).
This women-owned cooperative celebrates the Zapoteca culture, with revenue from handicrafts and visitor visits benefitting 13 women and their families.