Published 3 weeks ago.
About a 4 minute read.
Image: G Adventures
The tour operator is reforesting 13 countries severely impacted by climate change and relaunching its Ripple Score — a tour-evaluation rating that lets travelers see how much of their trip fees remain in the communities they visit.
Doubling down on its belief that travel companies and travelers play a pivotal
role in protecting the environment, global tour operator G
Adventures recently launched its Trees for
Through Trees for Days, for every day a traveler is on a G Adventures trip, one
tree is grown in their name. Though unveiled on World Tourism Day (27
September), the tree-planting initiative is back-dated to 1 January 2023; so,
more than one million trees have already been planted. The company estimates
that more than 1.5 million trees will be planted each year.
Like many of G Adventures’ impact initiatives, Trees for Days is supported by
its nonprofit partner, Planeterra — which works to
intentionally develop and support community-focused and -led tourism projects.
In the case of Trees for Days, Planeterra helped source the 17 participating
community-based tree-planting projects in 13 countries — all of which have been
severely impacted by climate change through deforestation or that are currently
“The planting of trees not only contributes to the removal of carbon dioxide
from the atmosphere, but it helps promote healthier landscapes and ecosystems
such as wetlands, grasslands, and forests, and provides crucial habitats, food,
and shelter for wildlife, thus helping to maintain biodiversity,” Planeterra
president Jamie Sweeting
said in a press release about Trees for Days. “Beyond that, helping local
environments grow and flourish means they become more resilient to extreme
weather events, which protects — and even helps develop — local communities and
their sources of income, especially in rural areas. More trees also mean cleaner
air and a reduction in the effects of extreme heat.”
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To bring this project to fruition, G Adventures also partnered with
Reforest — which actively supports tree planting and
forest conservation work around the world.
Trees for Days is G Adventures’ latest initiative aligned with its commitment to
responsible tourism. Community tourism has long underpinned the company’s ethos
when it comes to developing tours that host tens of thousands of travelers
annually — its tours are “built on meaningful relationships with local
communities and directly benefit the people and places we visit,” according to G
Adventures’ G for Good
The G Local Survey — conducted in 2016 — found that 91 percent of the
hotels, restaurants and tour providers on the company’s trips are locally owned.
Additionally, 83 percent of supplier management staff are local; and 90 percent
of suppliers purchase more than half of their supplies from local producers,
markets and farms. At the time of the survey, 112,000 people were employed
globally by G Adventures’ contracted service providers and, on average, three
dependents were supported by each employee of the company’s service providers.
Sweeting indicated that, though this data is now several years old, the
information is still relevant — and likely trending in a positive direction.
The desire to understand and quantify the deep penetration of tourism’s
potential financial benefits for communities led the company to establish the
Ripple Score — a
transparent tour-evaluation rating that lets travelers see how much of their
trip fee was spent locally on services including accommodations, restaurants and
transportation. To qualify as a local business or service, 50 percent or more of
the enterprise must be owned by a legal resident or national citizen of the
country where it operates. Based on this designation, G Adventures looked into
every business and service it worked with to determine what percentage of its
costs in each destination were staying there. The more money staying locally,
the deeper the ripple effect within the community and the higher the Ripple
Score, out of 100 points.
As of September 2018, 640 out of 800 tours had calculated scores with an average
score of 93 — meaning 93 percent of the money spent by G Adventures in a
destination went directly to local businesses and services. Like many tourism
initiatives, the COVID-19 pandemic put the program on hold; though the company
plans to relaunch the Ripple Score in January 2024.
“Our travelers care about making a difference when they travel — and they do
that simply by booking a tour with G Adventures,” said founder Bruce Poon
Tip. “Together, we will
address how community tourism can play an important role in helping the planet
heal — while uplifting local communities — through reforestation and positive
Published Nov 8, 2023 7am EST / 4am PST / 12pm GMT / 1pm CET
JoAnna Haugen is a writer, speaker and solutions advocate who has worked in the travel and tourism industry for her entire career. She is also the founder of Rooted — a solutions platform at the intersection of sustainable tourism, social impact and storytelling. A returned US Peace Corps volunteer, international election observer and intrepid traveler, JoAnna helps tourism professionals decolonize travel and support sustainability using strategic communication skills.