Celebrating Women In Travel With G Adventures & Planeterra

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Happy International Women’s Day! Today we celebrate women working in the tourism industry by interviewing Kelly Galaski the Director of Global Programmes for the Planeterra Foundation a non-profit social enterprise started by adventure travel company G Adventures.

Like all industries, the tourism industry has come a long way in empowering women and giving women equal rights but there is still a lot more that can be done. Tourists spend $200 billion every year in emerging market countries. How can we ensure that the money stays with local communities? 55% of the tourism workforce is made up of women and in all other industries combined, that figure jumps up to 65%.

And yet, women only earn 10% of the world’s income, own 1% of the world’s property and manage 10% of the world’s largest companies. In tourism, only 15% of women are board members.

The tourism industry continues to be one of the largest job creators in the world, with the ability to reach some of the most rural and underserved people across the globe many of them, women. But, despite 55% of the tourism workforce being made up of women, there is often a lack of women in leadership roles. And, in many countries, women are completely excluded from education and the formal economy because of their gender says Kelly”

I asked Kelly some questions on what Planeterra and G Adventures are doing to tackle these issues.

How did G For Good come about?

28 years ago, Bruce Poon Tip maxed out two college credit card to create a travel company that bridged the gap between backpacking and coach tours. Fast forward to today, G Adventures now offers over 700 adventures in more than 100 countries around the world. Remaining true to the belief that travel, when done in the right way, can change the lives not only of travellers but also of the local communities visited, G Adventures founded Planeterra in 2003, to support social enterprise projects in the destinations they visit. These G For Good projects developed by Planeterra focus on empowering women, creating new pathways for youth and conserving local culture and now more than 70% of G Adventures travellers will experience a G For Good project, allowing them to see first hand the power that travel has and how it can change lives.

G Adventures have been leaders in the responsible travel sector since they began back in 1990 and, under the G For Good umbrella, have also developed new responsible travel policies focused on Animal Welfare, Child Welfare and Responsible travel with Indigenous People.

What is the mission of G Adventures and the Planeterra Foundation?

G Adventures and Planeterra work together to deliver amazing adventure experiences to travellers around the world while ensuring that local communities are benefitting from this tourism. By supporting and developing community-owned enterprises, which are then incorporated onto G Adventures itineraries, we are able to offer meaningful interaction and employment to local communities, while ensuring that as much traveller money as possible goes into the hands of the local people.

What are some of the key challenges women face in the developing world?  

Across the world, women continue to struggle for equal access to employment opportunities, face cultural barriers inside and outside the home and have an unequal proportion of unpaid or informal work opportunities, that do not provide the same benefits as the formal sector. Many women do not receive full education as a child or young adult due to family responsibilities or male siblings being prioritised, making it much harder for them to find meaningful employment later in life.

What role does G Adventures and Planeterra play in empowering women?  

G Adventures and Planeterra work together to create opportunities for women to earn a living through tourism. Planeterra works with local organizations that have strong social goals to see women as equals in the workforce and in society. By providing training to our local partners, we can are able to provide high-quality experiences for travellers, where they can learn more about these local communities and can do their part to give back during their travels. Through these partnerships, women are earning a living for years to come, becoming financially independent, gaining confidence, and breaking down cultural barriers for the next generation.

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