GX: G Adventures and Planeterra celebrate community tourism summit success

Announcing Project 300, a new mandate to uplift over 300 communities by 2030.

G Adventures, leading small group travel company and pioneer of community tourism – together with its non-profit partner, Planeterra – hosted the first annual World Community Tourism Summit, dubbed GX, on September 27, 2023 in Cusco Peru.

The event was a celebration of the power of community tourism and an opportunity for members of the travel industry to see firsthand how they play a part in making the world a better, more equitable place, through their role in the wider travel community.

GX was also a celebration of Planeterra’s 20th anniversary. For the past two decades, Planeterra has been committed to uplifting communities through tourism, with more than 750,000 lives being changed through the course of its work. The event was also a fundraiser and in total more than £179,000 was raised in support of Planeterra’s community tourism projects in destinations around the world.

During GX, Planeterra’s president, Jamie Sweeting, announced the launch of Project 300, a bold endeavour with a singular focus: to be uplifting 300 communities through travel by the year 2030.

Project 300 follows Planeterra’s previous, successful campaigns; the ‘50 in 5’ initiative was introduced in 2015, through which 50 new social enterprises were built into G Adventures tours in just five years. This was swiftly followed by ‘Project 100’ in 2019 with a mandate to increase the total number of community tourism enterprises integrated into G Adventures experiences to 100.

Sweeting says Project 300 is the next chapter in G Adventures and Planeterra’s joint journey to create a lasting impact through community tourism.

“Building on the success of Project 100 our partnership with G Adventures now sets its sights on uplifting more than 300 communities by 2030. Together, we will continue to harness the immense potential of responsible travel to make a positive difference in the lives of even more people around the world,” Sweeting says.

GX brought together more than 350 tourism industry members from around the globe  – agents, suppliers, media and travellers – who gathered together in Cusco last month to experience firsthand what an incredible impact community tourism can have on a destination. Attendees also visited Planeterra-supported community tourism enterprises near Cusco, including the Ccaccaccollo Women’s Weaving Co-Op, Parque de la Papa, Tinkuy Community Tourism, and Parwa Community Restaurant.

A full day of speaker and discussion sessions tackled hot topics such as supporting women’s empowerment via tourism – a session that earned a standing ovation – tourism and the climate and biodiversity crisis, delivering actionable steps the industry and travellers can take to contribute to the success of community tourism.

Keynote speaker, Jessica Nabongo – travel expert and the first black woman to have travelled to every country in the world – kicked off GX saying, “One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned on my journey is that most people are good. We are more similar than we are different.”

G Adventures’ founder Bruce Poon Tip captured the essence of community tourism, saying the G Adventures culture is all about community.

“We define community tourism as a group of people who play different roles in the tourism supply chain coming together and sharing a common responsibility. This is what our groups do every day: bring together people who want to have a positive impact on the communities they meet and have an amazing time together. The experience is transformational for everyone involved, not just our travellers,” Poon Tip says.

GX wrapped up with the launch of Trees for Days, an initiative that brings the protection of the environment and empowerment of local communities closer together to enact powerful change through travel and tourism. For each day a traveller is on a G Adventures trip, one tree will be grown in their name, helping to both mitigate carbon emissions and increase support in 17 local communities around the world. The tree-planting projects are in locations that have been severely impacted by climate change through deforestation, or that are currently under threat.

G Adventures and Planeterra invite all global citizens, travel enthusiasts, and like-minded organizations to follow them on this remarkable journey to creating a better world through tourism. More details about the next GX event will be revealed in the coming months.

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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