G Adventures was founded on a simple idea: that travel can transform the world for the better. That mission still holds true today, 25 years after founder Bruce Poon Tip left college with two credit cards and an ambitious dream to offer an authentic travel experience to people everywhere.
G Adventures is committed to sustainable tourism through their suite of responsible travel guidelines and support for over 65 small business and community development projects around the world through Planeterra, their nonprofit arm. This effort is measured by their ‘Ripple Score’ – which measures how much money travelers’ dollars stay in local economies.
Encouraging Community Development Through Social Enterprise
G Adventures’ commitment to sustainable tourism is more than a marketing ploy; it’s in their DNA. They have numerous programs that promote responsible travel and environmental conservation, such as their suite of responsible travel guidelines. Furthermore, they operate over 65 social enterprise projects around the world with goals to alleviate poverty, empower women and disadvantaged youth, and celebrate Indigenous cultures.
The company has made a significant financial investment in Reforest, an innovative digital platform that links travellers with local communities dedicated to restoring their ecosystems through reforestation. By planting trees where community tourism relies heavily on environmental preservation, travellers can make a positive contribution towards reducing their region’s carbon footprint.
In 2017, the world observed the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. To underscore this global effort to ensure more tourism benefits local people and the natural environment, various initiatives were launched. For instance, the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals aim to eliminate extreme poverty, combat inequality and enhance environmental protection by 2030.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways to do just that. One of the best is visiting social enterprises – organizations designed to create long-term economic opportunities for people living in remote or underdeveloped regions.
On tours around the world, travellers can discover social enterprises such as Women’s Weaving Cooperative in Peru or Sheroes Hangout in Nepal that provides a space for women to come together and work on production of handicrafts. These projects have reduced acid attacks in that region and also supported advocacy work on their behalf.
G Adventures’ social enterprise program also includes Women on Wheels in India, which pairs female passengers with female drivers for safe ground transport. These tours offer women an opportunity to learn a new skill and generate sustainable income that allows them to pursue their educational aspirations.
Advocating for Responsible Travel and Environmental Conservation
G Adventures is on a mission to redefine what it means to be responsible in tourism. As pioneers in this space, they’re setting an example by creating transparent guidelines and policies that guide their business practices.
G Adventures has joined forces with nonprofit Planterra to introduce the ‘Ripple Score’, which measures how much money stays in local economies. This helps travelers understand where their money goes and how their travel experience contributes to these communities.
They’re now better informed to make decisions about where they source tour materials and support local businesses. Furthermore, this gives them the chance to eliminate suppliers that don’t reflect their values or take steps towards improving sustainability practices.
G Adventures recently implemented new policy guidelines and unveiled the ‘Ripple Score’ for its tours, which allows travellers to see exactly how much money is staying in local economies. This initiative is part of G Adventures’ commitment to ‘G for Good’ – its social enterprise initiative which supports over 65 projects worldwide.
Louise Twining-Ward, CEO of Sustainable Travel International, states that this evaluation tool provides travelers with a valuable way to view how their money is being spent and where it goes. It’s an essential step for businesses looking to establish themselves as sustainable operators.
Meanwhile, the company is striving to reduce its environmental impact by decreasing plastic and packaging waste through recycling initiatives, restricting single-use items and offering safe drinking water on trips. Furthermore, they’re dedicated to educating their customers on ways to lessen their carbon footprint.
Though the company has made great strides in many areas of sustainability, they still face obstacles to overcome. For instance, their European online transactions weren’t compliant with the latest version of PSD2.
G Adventures faced a unique set of challenges when searching for an optimized, scalable, flexible and compliant payments infrastructure to support their growing global operations. To address these issues, they turned to a leading payment provider whose technology allowed them to scale quickly and be more responsive to customer demand.
Investing in Local Economies and Empowering Women
G Adventures, which is becoming one of the more sustainable industries, is investing in local economies to benefit those communities where its tours take place. Through partnerships with Planeterra – its non-profit partner -, the tour operator has been able to develop a variety of community tourism projects that support women and their families.
Planeterra has invested in a group of Zimbabwean women known as the Princess Sewing Cooperative, who offer laundry and tailoring services to travellers passing through Mkhosana on their way to Victoria Falls. Through this service they provide to G Adventures, these ladies earn an income while their business training has given them increased job security in the future.
Investing in local economies is essential for communities, as it preserves and adds value. A local business often stands as a unique entity, helping keep alive its distinct character and sense of identity, leading to increased economic activity and tourism.
G Adventures also supports local economies by guaranteeing that all money spent on tours stays within the community. This is done through its Ripple Score system, which evaluates how much of each tour’s impact is felt locally. The higher the ripple score, the more money stays within the area.
Ripple Score can assist travellers in selecting the trips that are right for them. It is an effective tool that shows individuals how much money is staying within communities instead of being lost through economic leakage.
The company is working with social enterprise and non-profit partners on initiatives that increase opportunities for women and girls, such as community homestays and tours. This comes in addition to their existing women’s empowerment projects which provide greater economic and educational resources around the world.
In honor of International Women’s Day, G Adventures and its non-profit partner Planeterra have launched five new initiatives that will benefit 2,800 local women. Included in all 3,000 tours this year, these initiatives aim to empower women through education and employment opportunities while building a stronger sense of community.
Educating and Engaging Travelers in Social and Environmental Issues
No matter the issue, or simply getting to know a destination better, the travel industry must do more to educate and engage travelers in social and environmental concerns. Instead of overwhelming communities with thousands of tourists at once, a new market of smaller specialized group tour operators offers a more sustainable, socially conscious experience for both visitors and local populations alike – one which will ultimately transformative.
These companies are dedicated to innovating for a sustainable future, drawing upon the expertise of local travelers and an intimate knowledge of their cultural context. To reduce pollution and other negative environmental effects, they strive to develop sustainable transportation systems that make it easier for people to travel sustainably.
G Adventures strives to educate travellers about their environmental impact through education and communication. They provide a range of guides and speakers from within their company as well as from local organizations who are trained in explaining sustainability concepts in an understandable manner.
They offer an array of volunteer opportunities and events that allow customers to contribute directly to community projects. For instance, the company is sponsoring a project in Floreana island, Ecuador to develop its tourism industry while protecting the environment by investing in infrastructure and training its citizens.
G Adventures’ Planeterra Foundation collaborates with local non-profits to create social enterprise projects that empower and educate local residents to launch their own small businesses. These initiatives aim to foster self-sufficiency while offering unforgettable experiences for visitors.
The company is passionate about advocating diversity, gender equality and LGBTQ+ inclusivity on their trips. For instance, they have a program called Women on Wheels in India that supports female-only chauffeurs; additionally, they collaborate with Wiwa Tours, Colombia’s first indigenous-run adventure operator.
G Adventures wanted to boost their website conversion rates, so they implemented Dynamic Yield’s personalization solution. This allowed them to customize hero banners on each homepage based on each user’s location and affinity for a particular trip. Furthermore, they removed irrelevant content from Trip Pages which resulted in higher purchase conversion rates.