Lonely Planet Writer

Your dream tourism projects: winners from our Travelstarter competition

View of couple's feet and local dog with Andes in distance.

Our competition with Travelstarter to help make someone’s dream tourism project a reality has now come to a close! We received a strong batch of entries and would like to thank all of our entrants for their fantastic submissions. We thought hard about who should win and why and in the end it wasn’t just about the most innovative idea but also about the ones that would realistically benefit both travellers and the local community. In line with our core belief that travel is a force for good when done responsibly, it was also key the winning project was a sustainable one.

Without further adieu, here’s the winning project and three runners up we settled on. Drum roll, please...


Picnic on the beach

Sand dunes of PEI Coming over the sand dunes. Prince Edward Island, Canada. Image by Rupert Pacudan.

‘On Prince Edward Island in Canada there are so many beautiful beaches. When tourists come for a visit, they often don't have access to a kitchen to prepare a picnic for their day at the beach. My dream tourism project would be to start a local picnic selling business. Tourists could order their picnic easily online, and pick it up freshly prepared on their way to the beach (or anywhere else they want to have a picnic). The basket would include local food suitable for eating outdoors, drinks (alcoholic or not), and a blanket, among other things. I don't think there’s anything more enjoyable in life than having a picnic at the beach!’

-Julie Gilman

Why Lonely Planet liked it

‘There was a heart-warming simplicity about Julie’s idea, that we felt was fitting with the charm of this part of Canada. The fact that rather than her product being about speeding people’s experience up in some way, it was about helping them to slow down: to sit, to eat, to drink and enjoy the moment. It really got us talking about all the extra little touches you could include in the picnic packs to make them particularly special!’

-Seb Neylan, Social Communications Manager, Lonely Planet (London)

Why Travelstarter liked it

‘We loved Julie’s idea because it is brilliantly simple but effective. It involves an experience of the local food scene and has the potential to be rolled out in a number of places all around the world. We all love spending time in scenic spots such as parks and beaches when we are travelling and having a picnic basket full of local delights with a memorable landscape as a backdrop definitely gets two thumbs up from us!’

-Anushka Beltram, Founder, Travelstarter

What they win

1000 USD seed funding, through the Travelstarter platform, for them to get their project off the ground.


Local fishing experiences in the Philippines

Morning Light Morning light in Abra, Philippines. Image by Jesse Alegre.

An immersive cultural tour business in the Philippines which works directly in partnership with local fisherman, involving them in all aspects of the experience.

-Johanna Michelle Lim

Accessible travel resource

Atlantis Aquarium, Bahamas Atlantis Aquarium in the Bahamas. Image by Coolameragirl/Budget Travel.

An accessible travel focused website that would work with local communities to provide information to families who have one member or multiple members with a disability.

-Teresa Turner

Learning from the locals

Portrait of local guide in traditional costume at Glaumbær Turf House Museum. Portrait of local guide in traditional costume at Glaumbær Turf House Museum, Iceland.

A platform where locals can offer up their local knowledge and services to give tours of their own neighbourhoods and city (by hour, or by day).

-Teresa Kate Leslie

What they win

Each runner up receives a $50 USD voucher for Lonely Planet’s online shop.

To find out more about Travelstarter, and what the platform offers, see some of the fantastic tourism projects they’re currently funding.

To continue the conversation about responsible travel, see our Thorn Tree forum.