Planeterra and G Adventures worked with the MIF on Ometepe Island in the community of La Paloma, to develop a home-stay program and visitor centre for groups that provides access to the tourism market to a small village that has traditionally lacked opportunity to benefit from sustainable tourism. Initiatives related to the home-stay program include small businesses to supply the tourism industry and environmental and social grants as part of a sustainable solution to protect the destination. Composting toilets were installed to provide a place for the community members and travellers to use when on the beach at the main community centre. Training and development of 5 women-owned micro-enterprises took place through 2013 and 2014. In 2014 we also expanded into another neighboring community, to work with a group of women who run a home stay program under the name "Pueblo Hotel", providing eight more families with the opportunity to benefit from tourism. Home Stays on Ometepe are included on several G Adventures itineraries now, and is expanding.
There are opportunities to be involved through funding initiatives within this project. Donations or grants made to Planeterra for this project will supplement the funds provided by MIF and G Adventures to provide additional seed funding for small businesses, infrastructure needs, and social & environmental grants.
This project is part of Planeterra and G Adventures' technical cooperation agreement with the Multilateral Investment fund of the Inter-American Development Bank called Tour Operator's Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development, a three-year project spanned over 2012-2015 in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Peru. The expected impact of this project is to increase the competitiveness of medium and small enterprises (MSEs) by capitalizing on regional assets and by incorporating local value added to their businesses, which in turn are expected to result in increases of domestic product at the regional level. The principal result will be a replicable model that will optimize market access and efficiency in the tourism value chain by connecting MSEs with a large adventure tour operator from the point of product development, providing them access to a ready market, capabilities and the tools to serve the market demand.