Surveying the scene - social enterprise community projects have been hit hard by the pandemic.
G Adventures, a small-group adventure tour company, has launched three benevolent funds to support its staff following an outpouring of concern from clients.
The group’s tour guides, known as ‘chief experience officers’ (CEOs), as well as porters, cooks and horsemen, all rely on tourism to survive and have been deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
G Adventures founder, Bruce Boon Tip, says he has received thousands of enquiries from clients offering help and has promised to personally match the first US$50,000 of donations.
“Our teams on the ground pour their hearts into making sure our travellers have life-changing experiences on every trip, and the connections they make with travellers can last a lifetime,” he said.
The three funds include a CEO Wellbeing Fund to promote the health and wellbeing of CEOs who may need financial support through illness or difficult circumstances; a Porters’ Support Fund to help the Inca Trail porters, cooks and horsemen who are an essential part of G Adventures’ South American trekking itinerary; and a Planeterra Fund to aid people at G Adventures’ social enterprise ‘Planeterra’ projects. There are currently 85 Planeterra projects running in more than 50 countries.
“It is one of the most heartwarming movements I’ve witnessed in my 30 years of building G Adventures,” said Boon Tip. “These new funds represent our commitment to community tourism by offering the opportunity to make a positive change at a time when we can’t do that through travelling.”
G Adventures promises that 100% of donations will go directly to the people impacted.
The tour company was founded in 1990 and has been something of a pioneer in community tourism and small-group travel. Its social impact commitments include travel guidelines for children, wildlife and indigenous people and community-based ‘Planeterra’ projects. The group offers more than 750 tours in 100 countries for all age groups.