G Adventures’ new ‘Project 100’ experiences, in partnership with not-for-profit Planterra, empower local women and their communities. Here are five you can book to play your part in giving back.
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Now, more so than ever, people are thinking beyond the usual mindset of simply what to pack and what season to choose for their next holiday. As public awareness of the impact travel has on the environment grows, travellers are taking into account the carbon footprint of their transport choices, as well as the way their trips affect local communities once they’re there.
Small-group tour operator G Adventures has become a trailblazer in this modern movement towards responsible tourism. Last year, they released a range of responsible travel guidelines that seeks to protect the rights of children, animals and indigenous people, and underwent a full audit of their 700+ tours and 1000+ vendors, weighing up the impact of their travel.
To prove they were serious, the tour operator committed to ‘Project 100’, an initiative with their non-for-profit partner Planterra that would see 100 projects introduced into G Adventures tours by the end of 2020 that empower local communities. So far, they have already established 85 of the 100 planned, including projects that focus on forest preservation in Costa Rica, support the Indigenous San community in Southern Africa, and help those living with physical or mental disability in Hungary.
The latest five projects to be announced, just in time for International Women’s Day on 8th March, have a focus on empowering women. It’s expected that 2,800 local women will be positively impacted by the 3,000 travellers that will come through the tours this year alone. “These new projects continue our mission of turning travel into impact,” explains President of Planeterra Foundation and Vice President of Responsible Travel at G Adventures, Jamie Sweeting.
The transformative power of travel is undeniable, whether it’s emotional, physical, personal or cultural, and G Adventures’ latest crop of projects ensure the impact on local people, too, is positive.
Berracas de la 13 – Comuna 13, Medellin, Columbia
Once a city under the control of groups loyal to Pablo Escobar, Colombia‘s Medellin was rife with crime, violence, drugs and political unrest. Much has changed since then, with the city now regarded as one of the most innovative in the world, drawing in crowds from across the globe. But even with a decrease in crime, there are still barriers for those that live there.
Berracas de la 13 was created by a group of women with the goal of empowering the women and youth in their community. Now working with Planeterra, they welcome travellers looking to learn from local guides, purchase unique handicrafts and try new food in their restaurant, and through their local tour and meal service.
This project can be experienced on the nine-day Colombia Express tour, priced at $1,849pp.
Domari Culture and Craft Experience – Jerusalem, Israel
The Dom community in Jerusalem faces regular discrimination due to not being fully integrated into either Israeli or Palestinian societies. The Domari Community Centre was created as a place where Dom women and children could be supported and provided vocational training while gaining the confidence and independence.
Planeterra has supported the Domari Society of Gypsies through creating a tourism experience for G Adventures travellers, sharing traditional food, cultural stories and local handicrafts.
Travellers can see it for themselves on the 15-day Jordan and Israel Adventure tour from Amman to Jerusalem, priced from $4,049pp.
Together We Earn – Kerala, India
There’s no doubt incredible strides have been made for women’s empowerment in Kerala, India, which now has the highest rates in terms of education and health indicators. The state, however, still struggles with women’s participation in the labour force. With agriculture the main source of income for families, women often don’t have the opportunity to gain the skills they need to find employment beyond the fields they work in.
With Planeterra’s support, Together We Earn (TWE) has taken women’s empowerment to the next level by opening a kitchen in rural Alleppey. Here, the local women can receive tangible skills-training opportunities in hospitality, and a sustainable income source through the guaranteed customer base of international visitors.
Travellers can visit this project on the seven-day National Geographic Journeys South India: Explore Kerala tour, priced from $1,349pp.
Shedia Home – Athens, Greece
Homelessness continues to be a significant social issue in Greece, with unemployment surpassing 50%. Shedia Home is a not-for-profit organisation working to employ and empower those experiencing homelessness and social exclusion in Athens. Already, they’ve been able to offer 150 people the opportunity to earn an income to cover their basic needs on a daily basis, with 43 individuals now having homes thanks to their connection with the not-for-profit.
Planeterra partnered with the organisation to provide a valuable and sustainable income for its programs by bringing travellers to the brand new Shedia Home, to see its café, hear from one of their guides who is currently experiencing homelessness, and to be taken on a tour of Athens which “makes the invisible (homeless), visible.”
The 15-day Best of Greece tour from Athens to Santorini is priced from $3,349pp and visits Shedia Home.
Maldives Plastic Program – Malé, Maldives
Pollution of the ocean directly impacts the Maldives, which is made up of 99% water and only one per cent land. Without the proper infrastructure or awareness for proper recycling, the country’s imported plastic often ends up thrown in the ocean.
Partnering with local travel company Voyages, Planeterra has now integrated plastic pick-ups into all G Adventures tours traveling through the Maldives. Planeterra provides the equipment needed so that travellers can clean up plastic on the beaches, with the goal of preventing tonnes of plastic waste from ending up in the ocean. Waste collected through the tours is then processed by a local not-for-profit to be used for up-cycling in countries with the means to.
The Maldives Plastic Program can be experienced on the eight-day Maldives Island Hopping trip, priced from $959pp.