Epler Wood managed the design, proposal process, and start-up for the Tour Operators Plan for Sustainable Tourism for the Planeterra Foundation, supported by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank and G Adventures-- a project to bring small community suppliers in 4 Latin America countries into international tourism supply chains. It is the largest, most ambitious project ever developed under the Planeterra Foundation banner.
The project connects small community-based projects into the G Adventures supply chain. Investments worth $500K are being provided by G Adventures to help build more comfortable home-stays near Lake Atitlan, Guatemala and on the shores of Lake Nicaragua in Ometepe, Nicaragua. A coffee tour on a fair trade coffee cooperative in Saripiqui, Costa Rica is being upgraded for commercial visitation. In the Machu Picchu region of Peru, a unique community farm-to-table restaurant is being developed and a community-owned campground.
$500K in training and management services are being provided by the MIF. All systems for the project were designed by Epler Wood. Product development procedures involve the community in careful deliberations regarding the preservation of their culture. Small grants will be provided to build local small microenterprises for people living in the same communities. Environmental management and community heritage goals will be primary goals to help mitigate project impacts. Green governance will be explored via funding for local fellowships to government officials, and training and support for local NGO counterparts ensures that locally knowledgeable experts will carry the project forward in the long-term.