BRIDGETOWN — Planeterra and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) have a new partnership to scale up community tourism and change lives across the Caribbean.
As travel rebuilds post-COVID, Planeterra – the leading global community tourism non-profit based in Canada – and CTO say they envision that the partnership will see more travellers to the Caribbean visiting community-owned enterprises that benefit local people and their families.
The organizations will be seeking funding to build the capacity of enterprises, while encouraging community tourism enterprises towards the training and mentorship offered by Planeterra’s Global Community Tourism Network.
“Four years ago the CTO launched a program to support the continued development of community-based tourism in the Caribbean. This partnership with Planeterra is a further step in our regional tourism development strategy to support entrepreneurship and community development, and is timely in this current environment where we are restarting tourism,” said Neil Walters, the CTO’s acting secretary general.
He added: “The participation of local communities in the tourism product is a significant part of distributing the benefits of tourism to all aspects of our societies.”
The organizations note that many community tourism enterprises have the ability to change lives and keep tourism dollars in the hands of local people, but they lack the support and training needed to develop product offerings, capture the travel market and draw enough customers.
Planeterra’s Global Community Tourism Network seeks to change the face of travel by putting communities at the centre of tourism’s efforts, and to connect them to travel businesses that can help them to build back better after the pandemic.
The network comprises more than 270 community tourism enterprises in 70 countries, all gaining training, mentorship and connection through Planeterra’s online resources and team, as well as market access.
“Planeterra is eager to partner with CTO to help communities gain access to the resources, community, and mentorship our organization provides,” said Planeterra President Jamie Sweeting.
“We are hopeful that this partnership will lead to an increase in support for community tourism in the Caribbean, and will increase the social, economic and environmental benefits that host communities see from the tourism industry.”
For more information on the Global Community Tourism Network see communitytourism.org.