Sustainable tourism has been given a significant boost thanks to first-of-a-kind deal between G Adventures and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF).
Community-based projects in Central and South America will be set up through the US$1million (GBP665m) partnership in five rural villages. It is the first time to MIF, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB), has partnered with a tour operator for tourism development and will be managed by Planeterra.
“The tourism industry has not traditionally been involved in international development activities but for community-based tourism development to be sustainable and effective the private sector, and specifically tour operators with reach to customers, should be engaged from the start,” said Paula Vlamings, executive director at Planeterra.
The projects should be completed by October 2015 in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Peru. Initiatives will be developed in areas that are not currently seeing sustainable tourism benefits and will include a coffee cooperative tour and restaurant; a community-owned campsite and homestay accommodation.
“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with the MIF and our involvement is testament to the positive impact travel can have on the lives of rural communities around the world when the power of the tourism engine is harnessed effectively. In addition to generating market demand this programme will stimulate local economic growth to preserve the cultures of these destinations,” said Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures.
“It also means our travellers will have the opportunity to experience new meaningful and enriching cultural exchanges with indigenous people,” he added.